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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.

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.

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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.

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?”

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

[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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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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