🗞 Elon Musk Becomes 'Chief Twit', Amazon Stumbles On Its Words, & The EU Hits The Gas On EVs
This Week: The Twitter Saga comes to an end, Amazon isn't done dealing with the NLRB, and the EU gets serious on internal combustion. Plus, when a deposition means getting grilled by a hot dog, and some spooky-scary court cases.
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It's official: the world's richest man, Elon Musk, now owns Twitter. What began with a 9% purchase of the company in April, then quickly became a bid for the whole enchilada, quickly devolved into a PR and legal mess. As recently the beginning of this month, Musk and the social media platform were locked in a lawsuit over the billionaire's decision to pull out of the deal — a lawsuit that was no doubt set to rack up enormous legal fees. Then, in an unexpected reversal a few days before he was to be deposed, Musk announced the deal was back on. He closed on the acquisition last week.
It was a wild ride for shareholders: Twitter's share price as of close on April 1 was $39.31. Over the next few months, it bounced around between $32.65 and the low 50s. Musk closed the deal at $54.20 a share, and Twitter has since been delisted from the NYSE, reports Business Insider.
Before the deal even closed, rumors began to swirl that a 70% cut to staff was coming. That staggering figure hasn't materialized, but, according to the Washington Post, plans to cut 25% of the workforce are underway, and both CEO and CFO have been sacked.
Winter of Our Dis-content
Elon Musk has long been crusading for freedom of speech, but his version of how that looks has come under increasing scrutiny. Even more so now that he privately owns Twitter. “There could be real-world consequences to his leadership,” David Kaye, a law professor at UCI, told The New York Times. “To the extent that world leaders see they have this space and it’s unmoderated, they could push to see how far they can go.” Musk has repeatedly said that he would reverse Donald Trump's ban from the platform, and one report shows the use of the N-word on the app has already spiked 500%, writes the Washington Post. Musk, for his part, seems to be proposing a content moderation panel similar to what Facebook/Meta already uses.
Yes, the deal is done and Musk finally owns Twitter. But it seems that is only the end of Phase 1 of this story. What is Musk going to do with Twitter? Will fired executives come back to sue? We’ll just have to stay tuned.
A bit of a break here for a moment to say that Above The Law wrote about us (Lawtrades) in a recent piece. Focused on the burnout in BigLaw and the shift by lawyers to the gig economy (where controlling your time and workload is key), the article details Lawtrades' founding and our pivotal role in this industry-wide transition. Hop over and take a read.
… BUT THAT'S NOT ALL
We here at Lawtrades believe in giving you all the information you need to stay at the forefront of the industry and operate as an independent attorney. Until now, that meant this newsletter, our Sunday Deep Dives, event replays, and podcast. But we're adding something new: Whitepapers.
First up, we're taking a look at Legal Operations and what it takes to build a stellar legal ops team. We're really proud of it, and think you'll enjoy the read. So go ahead and download our very first whitepaper here.
Some things have changed since Amazon's leadership transitioned from founder Jeff Bezos to former AWS head Andy Jassy — and some haven't. Take, for example, the company's stance on unions. “It's employees’ choice whether or not they want to join a union,” Jassy began in an April interview with CNBC, before adding, “We happen to think they’re better off not doing so for a couple of reasons at least.” He doubled down on the sentiment in a June interview with Bloomberg, saying he believes Amazon employees are “better off without a union.”
Well, now the National Labor Relations Board is chiming in. A recently-filed complaint by the NLRB claims Jassy's comments are “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed” in the National Labor Relations Act. According to CNBC, Amazon has until November 8th to respond to the complaint, and until February 7th to mail/email a notice to Amazon employees about their labor rights under the law.
Since an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island unionized earlier this year, the company has faced a growing movement by employees to unionize.
Amazon workers in California have petitioned to join the Amazon Labor Union, reports NPR. Meanwhile, a warehouse in Alabama is in the midst of the second round of votes, but a warehouse in Albany has voted against the union.
The Biden Administration has been an outspoken proponent of the ALU, publicly congratulating their victory and meeting with Christian Smalls, who led the unionization efforts.
While Amazon's anti-union efforts are no doubt a political act, the company is also funding nonprofits that oppose antitrust legislation, says CNBC. “The Independent Women’s Forum received [a $400,000] contribution from the e-commerce giant in 2021, the same year the group wrote columns speaking out against bills that could strengthen antitrust enforcement,” CNBC writes. Amazon is under global pressure from various governments looking to break up the tech giant's outsized hold on online retail.
The ongoing fight between labor and corporations doesn't seem to be ending in 2022, in fact, it seems to be picking up steam. As Amazon positions itself for a bigger fight, control of Congress in the midterms may further complicate this movement.
🎃 A Belated Halloween
October 31st may have passed and the holiday music may already be bumping (unfortunately) but we have to share one last slice of the spooky content cake.
Click below for a thread full of classic legal scares, add in your own, and give Matt (Head of Community/Chief Officer of 🐦 Law) a follow if you’re not already.
The days of the internal combustion engine are limited … at least in the European Union. Last week, legislation was agreed upon by the European bloc that would effectively ban CO2-emitting engines in all cars and vans beginning in 2035, and require a 50% reduction of emissions by 2030. “I am pleased that we reached an agreement with the Council on an ambitious revision of the targets,” Jan Huitema, a Dutch politician negotiating on behalf of the European Parliament, said in a press statement, notes The Verge. “This is crucial to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and make clean driving more affordable for our citizens.”
The plan is part of a larger push by the EU, one dubbed Fit 55, to cut the bloc's greenhouse emissions 55% by 2030.
Meanwhile, in the post-Brexit UK, plans to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles are set to 2030, and hybrid engines will no longer be sold come 2035, writes The Verge.
Ford and GM are looking to keep up with the changes. GM announced that “it will phase out the production of gas-powered cars by 2035,” says Yahoo Finance. “In contrast, Ford is taking a more cautious approach, saying it will continue producing gas-powered cars alongside electric cars.”
The California Plan
Back home in the US, California is looking to set the national standard for vehicles (a mantle it's traditionally held as it's the nation's largest economy and population center). In August, the California Air Resources Board voted to require any new car or truck sold in the state to be zero emissions beginning in 2035. According to the Smithsonian, states from Washington to Massachusetts and Virginia are already looking to adopt similar rules. “We think of the California regulation as the floor, and we’ve set a new ceiling of trying to get that done by 2030,” said Anna Lising, a senior climate advisor to Washington's governor.
Such decisions couldn't come faster, and it's great to see Ford and GM starting the (electric) engine on changing emissions standards. The only party who may be opposed to such a speedy transition is Big Oil — which is busy making record profits.
Weenie Roast: One of Lawtrades's very own (guess who?) shares a Halloween tale of wearing a costume to work. As Above The Law details, the festive attitude wasn't matched by all.
Deadman's Court: Does Mark Twain's ghost have to honor the publishing deals his former living self made? Can you break your lease because the building is haunted? One Legal has all your Halloween-themed court cases. So does our Twitter.
Here’s a short from last week.
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