Chattanooga VW plant to join UAW after landslide victory – National & International News – MON 22Apr2024


Chattanooga VW plant to join UAW after landslide victory. 

House passes $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. 

Gaza doctors save baby from womb of mother killed in Israeli air strike. 




Chattanooga VW plant to join UAW after landslide victory

This weekend, it was announced that workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, TN, voted voted 2,628 to 985 (about 73%) in favor of joining United Auto Workers. About 84%, of the 4,326 eligible workers at the plant voted in the election. 

This makes the Chattanooga workers “the first Southern autoworkers outside of the Big Three [Ford, GM, and Stellantis] to win their union” according to a statement from UAW. Two previous union votes at the plant had narrowly failed (by 3% in 2014 and 2% in 2019). The massive win this time is all the more remarkable considering the anti-union campaign by politicians and powerful outside groups. Ahead of the vote last week, several Southern governors – including Bill Lee of Tennessee and Tate Reeves of Mississippi – signed onto a joint statement calling on workers to reject the union. A Koch brothers-backed group also bought up billboard space around the city to discourage workers from unionizing.

UAW has billed the Chattanooga vote as its launching pad for a campaign to recruit workers at non-union foreign automakers throughout the South.

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House passes $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

Over the weekend, the House of Representatives passed a single bill to provide about $95 billion in aid for Ukraine ($61 billion), Israel ($26 billion) and Taiwan ($8 billion). House Speaker Mike Johnson held up a vote on a bill like this for weeks after facing a revolt from conservatives in his party that opposed aid to Ukraine.

Last week, Johnson at first tried to pass the aid in three separate packages, but Biden signaled he would veto a standalone bill for Israel. Johnson then brought three separate measures to the floor, all of which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. They will now be combined into one bill before they go to the Senate.

Angry over Speaker Johnson’s passage of the Ukraine aid, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has called Johnson to step down, otherwise he would be vacated. Last month, Greene filed a motion to vacate but has not yet called a vote. 

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Gaza doctors save baby from womb of mother killed in Israeli air strike

In recent days, Israel has increased the intensity of its bombing campaign in Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza where an estimated 1.5 million Gazans from the north are sheltering in makeshift tent cities. The recent bombings have targeted family homes. Last night, 17 children and two women from an extended family were killed in such a bombing. In a separate strike, the home of Sabreen al-Sakani, who was 30 weeks pregnant, was struck, killing Sabreen, her husband, Shoukri, and their three-year-old daughter, Malak. Doctors were able to save the still-gestating infant as her mother died of her wounds.

Dr. Mohammad Salama of the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah said the baby will remain in an incubator there for three to four weeks. “After that we will see about her leaving, and where this child will go, to the family, to the aunt or uncle or grandparents. Here is the biggest tragedy: even if this child survives, she was born an orphan”. The baby’s paternal grandmother has said she plans to care for her. 

A war on children and fertility

UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini has called Israel’s military campaign in Gaza a war on children. Doctors in Gaza have said that Israeli snipers have been targeting children. A targeted strike on a playground in Maghazi refugee camp last week killed eleven children. Overall, more than 13,000 children have been killed in Gaza since October 7, making up nearly a third of civilian deaths.

It is also a war on fertility. Last week, Israeli forces bombed Gaza’s largest IVF clinic, destroying some 4000 frozen embryos as well as about 1000 sperm and egg specimens to be used in fertilization. Since October 7, Israeli forces have repeatedly targeted hospitals and clinics, leaving expectant mothers (180 of whom are giving birth every day) fewer and fewer options for care. 

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