- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 22, 2014
UAW drops appeal of defeat in Volkswagen vote

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The United Auto Workers dropped its appeal of a worker vote against unionizing at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee, a move that the union said should put pressure on Republican politicians to quickly approve incentives the German automaker is seeking to expand its lone U.S. assembly plant.

The prolonged fight over labor issues at the Chattanooga facility appeared headed for a lengthy National Labor Relations Board appeal until the UAW announced an hour before a scheduled hearing that it was ending its challenge. The February vote went against the union 712-626.

Some GOP lawmakers had blamed the appeal for holding up expansion plans at the plant - and the UAW says that perceived obstacle is now out of the way.

“Now they need to step up and do what’s right for VW and those workers over there, get the incentives without any strings attached,” UAW Regional Director Gary Casteel said in a phone interview.

The appeal had focused on public statements from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and other GOP officials that the union argued raised fears among workers about the plant’s future if they voted to organize.

Union supporters also chafed at revelations that a previous $300 million incentive package from Tennessee had been made contingent on the labor situation there concluding to the satisfaction of the state, where anti-UAW Republicans hold a vast majority.


Man admits to attack at national park

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a man has pleaded guilty to an attack on a woman in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Knoxville announced on Monday that 48-year-old William E. Seevers pleaded guilty to attempted murder and aggravated sexual abuse by force. The 44-year-old woman was attacked and stabbed on the Gatlinburg Trail in June 2012.

Prosecutors said Seevers held the woman at knifepoint, sexually assaulted her and stabbed and punched her as she tried to get away from him.

Seevers is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 21.


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