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United Auto Workers’ appeal on Tenn. plant vote will center on political ‘outsiders’

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(Reuters) – The head of the United Automobile Workers said on Monday that the union’s appeal of a failed organizing effort at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will focus on the actions of outside parties, not the German automaker itself.

In an interview with Reuters, UAW President Bob King said, “Corporate VW acted with great integrity,” in the run-up to last week’s election.

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“Our issue is really with outside third parties trying to threaten and intimidate both the company and workers,” King said. “It was certainly not the company.”

Late last week, the UAW asked the U.S. National Labor Relations Board to investigate the vote, citing what it characterized as “interference by politicians and outside special interest groups.”

The election loss at the Chattanooga plant was a blow to the UAW, which spent two years trying to persuade the workers there to unionize, but still lost, even with the support of VW.

A number of anti-union Republicans, including Bob Corker, a former mayor of Chattanooga who now represents Tennessee in the U.S. Senate, urged the VW workers to reject the union, making statements that the UAW says were “threats” that swayed the results.

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Just days before the vote, Corker said he had been “assured” that if workers at the plant rejected the UAW organizing drive, the company would reward them by sending new work to the plant.

Volkswagen, which had allowed the union access to the factory and officially stayed neutral in the vote, flatly denied Corker’s claim. But days later, the workers voted against the union 712 to 626.

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Usually, post-election appeals are triggered by the actions of management, not outsiders, and King acknowledged on Monday that for complaints against third parties such as Corker, there is “a little bit, not a lot” of precedent regarding where free speech ends and illegal interference begins.

But he asked: “Are we going to allow outside people to do what neither unions or management can do?”

(Reporting by Peter Henderson in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank McGurty)

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[Image: United Auto Workers President Bob King listens as Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams answers questions during a news conference at the Chattanooga Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Center after the announcement that the union lost its bid to represent the 1,550 blue-collar workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Feb. 14, 2014. By Christopher Aluka Berry for Reuters.]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

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John Oliver cites Donald Trump’s final offer for Greenland: ‘$200 and I’ll throw in Don Jr.’

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"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's favorite highlight of the week was, of course, President Donald Trump's decision that he wanted to buy Greenland.

In his opener Sunday, the HBO host said that he wasn't all that surprised given Trump's track record.

"Of course, he f*cking did. Of course, he did. Greenland is icy, distant and autonomous is exactly Trump's type," Oliver said, showing a photo of Trump with the first lady.

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Florida teacher removed after bizarre rant about students not standing for the pledge

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Students were faced with a white-board rant in a classroom attacking anyone not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The moment went viral locally on Thursday after students posted Daniel Goodman‘s “inappropriate” message to students at First Coast High School in Duval County, Florida, The Atlanta Black Star reported.

“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for ‘white’ and ‘colored,’ as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960?s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president. The superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man. Mr. Simmons, who now is a DC PS admninistrator.”

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Angry Minnesota farmer bashes ‘insulting’ Trump comments that ‘we’re great patriots’ during his trade war

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President Donald Trump has insulted at least one Minnesota farmer by his claim that farmers are "great patriots" who want him to continue his trade fight against China.

"This wound is self-inflicted, by our president," said Gary Wertish, who is the Minnesota Farm Bureau president. "We definitely agreed with it in the beginning. But it doesn’t appear that there’s a plan B. Some of the callous comments come, especially from the president, you know, that farmers are 'winning,' we’re 'great patriots,' that’s very insulting. That’s coming from someone who never has faced the challenges of a family farmer. I go into the bank and tell the lender I can’t make the payment because we lost our market? The banker is going to tell me you don’t have to make your payment because you’re a patriot."

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