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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.

“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.

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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Hope Hicks’ latest obstruction just gave the Democrats a major weapon: report

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Hope Hicks didn't provide much information for Democrats in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee -- but she may have cracked the stone wall the White House has built around former staffers.

President Donald Trump's former communications director -- and perhaps his most trusted aide outside his family -- claimed blanket immunity throughout her closed-door testimony, but Hicks still gave Democrats something in their legal battle against the White House, argued Margaret Carlson for The Daily Beast.

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Trump UN choice Kelly Craft to step back from some climate talks

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President Donald Trump's pick for ambassador to the United Nations promised Wednesday to allow climate diplomacy to move forward despite her family's fortune in coal.

Kelly Craft, at a Senate hearing to confirm her for the high-profile post that has been vacant for nearly half a year, said she would not participate personally in discussions at the United Nations in which coal is discussed.

"I will give you my commitment that where coal is part of the conversation within climate change at the UN, I will recuse myself," she told Democratic Senator Ed Markey, a leading environmentalist.

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Chuck Todd goes ballistic on AOC for using ‘concentration camps’ – and Dems for not condemning her

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MSNBC's Chuck Todd says "you can't call" the concentration camps at our southern border "concentration camps."

"Be careful," Todd warned – comparing the Trump administration's camps, where we are keeping migrants, including many children, against their will, in horrific conditions – "comparing them to Nazi concentration camps. Because they're not at all comparable in the slightest.

His tone was one of anger and personal outrage.

He is extraordinarily wrong.

Todd, who hosts NBC's "Meet the Press" and MSNBC's "Meet the Press Daily," also serves as the network's political director. Perhaps he should reach out to a few historians and a few experts on authoritarianism, maybe experts in Nazi concentration camps, before opining in such a degrading and condescending manner (watch the video below.)

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