Daniel Howes | Michigan Radio

Daniel Howes


Daniel Howes is columnist and associate business editor of The Detroit News. A former European correspondent for The News, he has reported from nearly 25 countries on three continents and in the Middle East. Before heading to Europe in 1999, Howes was senior automotive writer and a business projects writer. He is a frequent contributor to NewsTalk 760-WJR in Detroit and a weekly contributor to Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor.

Howes is winner of multiple International Wheel Awards for column writing; a four-time winner of Northwestern University’s Medill award for general markets coverage; three-time winner for commentary from the Society of Business Editors and Writers; and a three-time finalist for the Gerald Loeb Awards, including an honorable mention for commentary in 2007.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from The College of Wooster in Ohio, and a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University.

Gary Jones stands at a UAW podium
United Auto Workers

The biggest of the United Auto Workers’ bad apples fell to earth this week in the crackdown on union corruption.

The feds charged former President Gary Jones with embezzling union funds in a racketeering conspiracy … and with defrauding the IRS of income taxes. Each of the counts could land the 63-year-old union leader in prison for up to five years.

Old Main building exterior
Wayne State University

How screwed up is the governance of Wayne State University? So much so that Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and bi-partisan leaders in the state Legislature signed a letter this week urging Wayne State’s warring board of trustees to, quote, “make the right decision.”

Not on hiring a new football coach or building a new business school. Not on anything that would improve the educational product coming out of Midtown. No – the full complement of Michigan’s political leadership wants the dysfunctional trustees to – wait for it – adopt a “code of conduct.”

Mel Tucker in East Lansing
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After a week of the usual chaos, Michigan State University has a new football coach.

Welcome to the asylum, Coach Mel Tucker. It’s where the inmates otherwise known as the Board of Trustees repeatedly show zero understanding of the difference between management and governance, and where MSU’s new president, Samuel Stanley, is nowhere to be found beyond a simple news release.

blue welcome to michigan sign
spiritofamerica / Adobe Stock

Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell is on a mission.

The morning after the Iowa Democratic Caucuses produced no clear votes and no winner, Dingell denounced what she called a “total screw-up.” She dubbed the current nominating system “broken,” and one that does not “reflect the diversity of this country.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer took office a year ago promising to be something her past two predecessors were not: a veteran legislator who could work with the other party to get things done.

Self-driving technologies like Tesla's Autopilot mode are limited by the sensors they use to detect obstacles on the road.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Tesla, the Silicon Valley automaker, is getting its revenge.

The maker of infamous electric vehicles got approval this week to sell directly to customers in Michigan – the epicenter of the automotive establishment.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

It must be an election year. Right on cue, the trade wars are coming to an end.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The birthplace of the modern American labor movement is facing a reckoning.

Thank a growing cadre of United Auto Workers leaders, including two of the past three presidents.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

President Donald Trump was here when the House tallied impeachment votes on Capitol Hill.

That’s because Michigan’s a state he needs to win re-election next year – whatever comes of the Senate trial to remove him. Trump won’t be re-elected if he fails to carry two of the industrial Midwest’s three most critical swing states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the home of the Motor City.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

That’s right – no accidents, just intention.

This was one of the most consequential weeks since Donald Trump became president. Within just a few hours, Democrats announced they’re moving ahead with impeachment articles … and that they’d reached a deal with the Trump administration to replace NAFTA.

Strange bedfellows? Nope. Dizzying politics.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The federal crackdown on union corruption has claimed more than 10 convictions so far. And it’s resulted in the resignation of United Auto Workers President Gary Jones.

It also produced a stunner: General Motors is using a racketeering lawsuit … the stuff of mafia fighters … to charge rival Fiat Chrysler with scheming to weaken GM over the past decade. And they’re using evidence in the UAW corruption case to do it.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The most important thing to know about this new reform package is that it’s the third such effort in as many years. The last two UAW presidents touted reforms … and they’re now known as “UAW Official A” and “UAW Official B” in federal court papers.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Take heart, Spartans. You’re not the only ones burdened with a dysfunctional board of trustees.

Enter Wayne State University and its board of governors, at war with itself. And at war with President Roy Wilson, whom one board member denounced this week as “divisive, incompetent or dishonest.”

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Maybe the new name for the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot of France should be United Nations Motors.

Rarely has the global auto world seen a cultural mash-up like the one announced this week.  Jeep SUVs meet Citroën cars.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The United Auto Workers walkout at General Motors was inevitable, ensured by the automaker’s decision to close four U.S. plants.

Was it necessary? Probably.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The longest United Auto Workers national strike against General Motors in nearly 50 years is done.

Well, not exactly.

UAW GM workers striking with signs
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors is the longest in 49 years. And a lot has changed.

The union’s 49,000 GM employees are a fraction of the 340,000 who walked off the job for 67 days in 1970.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Detroit’s automotive agenda in President Donald Trump’s Washington may just have gone poof.

Judging by the first few days of the impeachment inquiry, the deadly serious circus is likely to immobilize the White House — and fixate congressional Democrats on the case against Trump.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors is all about economics and job security. Yet for just about everyone else, it’s about political opportunity.

Democrats running to take on President Donald Trump are one-upping each other in a race to publicly support striking auto workers, especially in the politically crucial states of Michigan and Ohio. They should be careful.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

In President Donald Trump’s America, it matters where automakers bend metal.

That’s one reason General Motors CEO Mary Barra journeyed to the Oval Office this week to meet with the man behind the desk. Among other things, Trump wants know what the Detroit automaker’s really going to do about the plants it’s moving to close across the industrial Midwest — a region he needs to win next year if he wants to remain president.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The UAW once prided itself on being America’s “clean union.” The latest evidence and eight federal convictions so far suggest that moniker no longer may be accurate.

A former UAW vice president, Norwood Jewell, is headed to federal prison for 15 months.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Here in the industrial heartland, some old auto towns are getting some love.

It’s about time.

The latest is Flint, the “Vehicle City” laid low by its lead-tainted water crisis and General Motors’ decades-long exodus from so many operations there. Mahindra Automotive, the North American unit of its Indian parent, is angling to acquire the iconic Buick City site to build its first major assembly operation in the United States.

The Democratic debates took place over two nights at Detroit's Fox Theatre.
Malak Silmi / Michigan Radio

Twenty Democrats angling to unseat President Donald Trump graced the Fox Theatre over two nights to show what their party learned from their 2016 shellacking. The answer: not much.

When moderate contenders warned that Medicare for All would be too expensive – or that people working union jobs may not want to surrender their private insurance – progressive senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren mocked them for thinking small. And they wondered why such killjoys would even bother to run for president.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

President Trump proved the road to the Oval Office runs through the industrial Midwest. The Democrats vying to replace him should keep that in mind. Twenty of them will debate over two nights next week at Detroit’s historic Fox Theatre.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

They’re waiting for the end at Lordstown, the giant auto plant General Motors says it no longer needs.

Local 1112 President Dave Green comes in every day. He fields calls from worried members, offers counsel about whether to take a transfer or take a chance that union bargainers back in Detroit might get a product to save the plant.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Not since the dark days of bankruptcy a decade ago are contract talks between the United Auto Workers and Detroit’s automakers likely to be as tough as the round beginning next week.

It’s not because times are bad. It’s because times are good – a run of profitability and strong sales not seen since the 1960s. Yet change is coming faster than four-year contracts can manage. And that’s an ominous sign for both sides, especially union members seeking certainty.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Ford Motor is cutting another 12,000 jobs in Europe.

And global automakers have confirmed plans to close 16 plants around the world and eliminate 120,000 jobs, because the profit party is winding down.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Not since two Detroit automakers emerged from bankruptcy a decade ago has the hometown industry faced as much uncertainty as they do now in President Donald Trump's Washington.

Chaos on tariffs and trade, emissions standards and self-driving vehicle legislation. It conjures an F-word that hasn’t been used to describe the industry in recent years in recent years: And that word is “fragile.”

college building exterior
Marygrove College

Marygrove College is folding, three years after its financial crisis became undeniable.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler’s deal of the decade is dead.

Good ol’ French politics killed it this week – exactly what you get when the federal government in Paris controls 15 percent of the hometown Renault.