- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 18, 2014
After UAW defeat, can GOP fulfill promise of jobs?

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Republicans fighting a yearslong unionization effort at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee painted a grim picture in the days leading up to last week’s vote. They said if Chattanooga employees joined the United Auto Workers, jobs would go elsewhere and incentives for the company would disappear.

Now that workers have rejected the UAW in a close vote, attention turns to whether the GOP can fulfill its promises that keeping the union out means more jobs will come rolling in, the next great chapter in the flourishing of foreign auto makers in the South.

Regardless of what political consequences, if any, Republicans would face if that fails to happen, the Volkswagen vote established a playbook for denying the UAW its goal of expanding into foreign-owned plants in the region, which the union itself has called the key to its long-term future.

On the first of three days of voting at the Chattanooga plant, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker all but guaranteed the German automaker would announce within two weeks of a union rejection that it would build a new midsized sport utility vehicle at its only U.S. factory instead of sending the work to Mexico.

“What they wanted me to know, unsolicited, that if the vote goes negative, they’re going to announce immediately that they’re going to build a second line,” Corker told The Associated Press of his conversations with unnamed Volkswagen officials.

The company reiterated its longstanding position that the union vote would not factor into the decision, and Corker acknowledged that he had no information on whether the company would also expand if the union won.

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Mother of missing Memphis baby charged with murder

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A body discovered in a ditch over the weekend is that of a 7-week-old baby who went missing more than five weeks ago, and the infant’s mother has been charged with first-degree murder, Memphis Police said Monday.

The physical description and clothing on the body discovered Sunday in Millington, about a half-hour north of Memphis, matched that of Aniston Walker, who was reported missing Jan. 9, police said in a news release.

Police did not say how the baby died. An autopsy was being conducted Monday.

The baby’s mother, Andrea Walker, told police that Aniston disappeared after she left the baby at home with her 3-year-old child while taking her 5-year-old child to school.

Police said Walker called the child’s father, who does not live at the same address, and he reported the baby missing. Walker then left the house again - leaving the 3-year-old alone in the house for an hour - as she traveled to several locations around the city.

Police Director Toney Armstrong said at the time that Walker was not as forthcoming with investigators as they could have wished.

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