The UAW, Chile’s commodities, Gaza, and bad management from Moscow

Richard Murff
3 min readOct 30, 2023

The United Auto Workers union has reached a tentative agreement on a worker’s contract with Stellantis — which owns Jeep for a 25% pay increase to be phased in over the next 4 ½ years, after inking a similar deal with Ford. The UAW is expanding its strike against GM which, you’ll remember, literally had to be bailed out by the government because of untenable labor costs during the financial crisis.

Update: The UAW have reached a deal with GM

​​The world’s largest copper producer, Chile’s state-run Codelco, reported that year to date profits were down 65% this year. Output was down 9%, and operating costs up 30%, along with rising debts. They were recently downgraded by Moody’s at the same time that the company is taking over the country’s lithium production and processing. Chile has the largest global reserves of lithium, so this is going to really chap the Chinese, who are looking to extract and process the stuff themselves. While the price of lithium has fallen lately, there isn’t nearly enough of the stuff anywhere to make this green transition happen as planned, which will only drive the price up in the long term.

After shorter excursions into the Gaza over a couple of nights, the armored IDF push is now on the outskirts of Gaza City, with the intention of surrounding it. Hamas — usually keen to exaggerate any Israeli reaction as a war crime has called the push a “limited excursion.” This, together with reports of chaos and the looting of meager aid supplies coming through Egypt suggest that Hamas has lost control of the situation, as well as the population. The “What Next?” is tricky: Israel doesn’t want to occupy the area, the ruling Palestinian Authority in West Bank can’t take over through without being seen as a shill for Israel, and Egypt — which ran the place from 1948 -1973, wants nothing to do with the Gaza.

There is still a war on in Ukraine: US intelligence source report that the Kremlin is executing frontline Russian soldierswhom it finds mutinous or merely stubborn for not following orders in Ukraine. Basically, it’s a “the beatings will continue until moral improves” style of management. Lacking any real strategy, Moscow is employing “human wave” tactics in its attempts to take eastern-front city of Avdiivka. This amounts to emptying prisons, slums and the stix of guys who don’t matter and using them as cannon fodder. It isn’t a new Russian tack, as they used it with some success against the armies of Napoleon and Hitler. Still, you can see why the grunts are heading for the door.

Go deeper with: The Art of Letting Painful Things Go Can Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement provide a framework for the Israel/Gaza Conflict?

Richard Murff is the founder of 4717 Insights. For more on the world, how it got here and a stiff drink, head to the 4717. Murff is the author of Pothole of the Gods: On Holy War, Fake News & other Ill-Advised Ideas, Drunk as Lords, and the upcoming Horrible Political Jokes in Ukraine.

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Richard Murff

Founder of the 4717 Author of Haint Punch, and Pothole of the Gods. Good egg