- 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.


Overturned tanker closes I-40 in NC mountains

COVE CREEK, N.C. (AP) - Authorities say Interstate 40 in the North Carolina mountains will remains closed for several hours as crews clean up after a tanker truck overturned near the Tennessee state line.

The Department of Transportation said the tanker wrecked Monday afternoon at mile marker 6 in Haywood County and closed the entire road. Authorities aren’t sure they can reopen the interstate before 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Officials are recommending anyone wanting to drive through the mountains on I-40 to take Interstate 26 in Asheville west to Johnson City, Tenn., then take Interstate 81 south back to I-40 in Jefferson County, Tenn.

No traffic on I-40 is being allowed past Cocke County in Tennessee or past Exit 20 in North Carolina.


Free bus rides offered from Dickson to Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Commuters who live in Dickson will have a chance for free bus rides to and from Nashville for two weeks beginning on April 28.

The free rides are part of a pilot program to gauge how much interest there would be for a permanent bus route back and forth from Dickson to downtown Nashville.

The Regional Transpiration Authority has contracted with Gray Line of Tennessee to provide the buses for the free weekday routes through May 9. Each bus contains televisions, Wi-Fi and restrooms and can hold up to 56 passengers.

“Accessible public transportation is important to our community,” Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial said in a news release on the pilot program. “This initiative will demonstrate not only that there is a great need for transit in our area, but it will show our residents how easy and beneficial it is to use public transportation.”

RTA currently funds bus routes in Cheatham, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner and Williamson counties. If the pilot program is successful, there will be permanent bus routes for commuters in Dickson and the bus service will run at times that will accommodate the work schedules of the majority of customers, RTA officials said in the news release.

The free bus rides are scheduled to depart from the Dickson Wal-Mart at 6:40 a.m. and arrive at 7:40 a.m. at the Music City Central transit center in downtown Nashville. The afternoon bus ride home will leave downtown Nashville from Music City Central at 4:38 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive at the Park & Ride at the Dickson Wal-Mart at 5:40 p.m.

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