Koch brothers, Reeves, other Southern Govs line up against unions on eve of TN VW plant vote – National & International News – TUE 16Apr2024


Koch brothers, Reeves, other Southern Govs line up against unions on eve of TN VW plant vote.

With world’s eyes on Iran standoff, Israel ramps up attacks in Gaza.


Koch bros., Reeves, other Southern Govs line up against unions on eve of TN VW plant vote

Starting tomorrow, 4300 eligible workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga will vote on whether to join United Auto Workers. The votes will be counted and certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), with results expected Friday.

Previous union votes at the Chattanooga VW plant have narrowly failed, by 3% in 2014 and 2% in 2019. This time, UAW is counting on momentum from last year’s hard-fought win for record-breaking contracts with the Big Three (Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors) to put them over the top with VW workers in Tennessee.

UAW was able to win these contracts after a 6-week “stand-up” strike, where workers at key plants were called upon to strike. Following this victory, UAW President Shawn Fain announced that the union was taking aim at manufacturing plants for foreign automakers throughout the South. Fain said that workers from non-union plants all over the country had reached out to the union for help with organizing after the contracts were announced.

The UAW’s win already prompted Toyota, Honda and Hyundai to raise wages at their US plants in hopes of fending off this union push. The Chattanooga vote is the UAW’s first big test in the South, with UAW banking on a win in Chattanooga to be a launching pad for further campaigns. 

Southern Republican governors apparently also see the Chattanooga vote as pivotal. Fearing the spread of unions should the UAW prevail in Chattanooga, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have signed a joint statement calling on workers to reject unions, claiming they will jeopardize jobs and the growth of auto manufacturing in the South.

Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers-backed organization, has also bought up billboard space around Chattanooga, calling on workers to reject the UAW. 

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With world’s eyes on Iran standoff, Israel ramps up bombings in Gaza

The world is on edge as Israel contemplates retaliation for Iran’s missile strikes over the weekend. Despite many US pundits, including former Trump Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, describing Iran’s strike as “unprovoked”, it was in fact a response to Israel’s April 1 attack on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, Syria, which killed several high-ranking military officials and violated international law.

Iran has said that it would not have retaliated had the US, UK and France not blocked a condemnation of Israel’s attack on its sovereignty in the UN.

The Biden administration came out yesterday saying that it would not support any retaliation against Iran by Israel. However, the administration has sent mixed signals by refusing to publicly demand that Israel call off any plans for such an attack. Hours after the missile strikes, Biden reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US would not back a response, saying “You got a win. Take the win“.

Carnage in Gaza continues

The international furor over Iran has already furnished Netanyahu with cover to ramp up his widely-criticized military campaign in Gaza. Bearing in mind that this is happening as ceasefire talks are ongoing in Qatar, this is a partial list of what Israel’s army has been up to in Gaza just today:

Attack on Maghazi refugee camp that killed 11, mostly children

Air strike on residential building in Rafah, killing and wounding multiple people.

Attack on a police vehicle in Gaza City killed 8 police officers tasked with protecting aid shipments.

At least three killed in Nuseirat refugee camp in Central Gaza. 

UN says Israel still imposing “unlawful” restrictions on Gaza food aid despite promises to allow more in.

Other notable events in recent days include the discovery of a mass grave of civilians killed in Israel’s recent 2-week long siege of Al-Shifa Hospital (which destroyed large parts of the complex) and displaced civilians being fired upon as they attempt to return to their homes in Northern Gaza.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank (which is not controlled by Hamas), Palestinian villagers have faced days of violent attacks from illegal Israeli settlers, who are being openly supported by the IDF. 


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