For the first time, General Motors Co. could have an official of the United Auto Workers union on its board of directors. UAW Vice President Joe Ashton was nominated to a board seat controlled by a UAW trust fund that pays retiree health care bills. He plans to retire from his union post in June. The move, which would be considered common in Europe, is a first for General Motors, and a sign of how the relationship between the company and the union has changed in the past decade. Before that, the UAW battled with the company over wages, benefits and work rules. Now, the two often work together to boost quality and control costs, with workers getting a slice of company profits every year.
Confidence measure surges
U.S. consumer confidence surged in April, approaching the highest level since the recession began in 2007 as Americans reported greater optimism about their financial situation and the economy. The University of Michigan said its index of consumer sentiment rose to 84.1 in April from 80 in March. That’s just a point below the 85.1 reached last July, which was the highest in nearly seven years.