- 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.


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.


Shock after ministry student’s murder charges

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - A Christian ministry major accused of killing his fiancee and staging it as a suicide used a gun that belonged to one of his friends, police said.

Charlie Pittman, a senior at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., was charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail, police said in a news release Saturday.

The 21-year-old Christian ministry major shot and killed Olivia Greenlee on Tuesday night and tried to make it look like a suicide, the release said. The body of the music education major was discovered inside her 2001 Toyota Corolla parked on the university campus Wednesday morning. Union University is a private Christian liberal arts school with about 4,200 students.

The Jackson Sun (https://bit.ly/1ftjfXn) quoted Capt. Tyreece Miller on Saturday as saying that the gun belonged to a friend of Pittman’s and that the gun was taken without the friend’s knowledge.

Miller said the state of the crime scene left questions about whether her death should be ruled a suicide.

“While investigating her background, we didn’t find any information that led us to believe she had suicidal tendencies,” Miller told the newspaper.


Man charged in connection to player death case

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - Police have charged a Tennessee man with trying to coerce a witness in the deaths last month of an Arkansas State football player and his stepfather.

Police in Jackson, where the shootings happened Jan. 15, say 19-year-old Roddarous Bond of Murfreesboro is charged with attempted coercion of a witness and is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday.

The football player, 21-year-old Markel Owens, and 36-year-old Johnny Shivers were killed in the shootings, and Owens’ mother, 37-year-old Chermaine Owens, was injured.

Charged with two counts of felony murder are two cousins from Jackson, 22-year-old Derrick Wade and 19-year-old Johnny Wade. They are also charged with especially aggravated robbery, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault of Shivers’ 16-year-old son and tampering with evidence.



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