Most of next week for the first week of September should remain hot and humid. Daily highs in the low to even mid 90s with muggy mornings in the low 70s. A ... More...
Volkswagen Workers File Federal Suit to Block Company and UAW Collusion
Employees at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee facility have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block further collusion between the company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union should the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) order a new unionization election at VW's Chattanooga plant, according to a news release from The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
The Foundation is a nonprofit organization providing free legal aid to employees who believe their human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. With free legal assistance from Foundation attorneys, the workers filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
After losing last month's unionization election, UAW union officials filed objections with the NLRB seeking to overturn the election results. Five VW workers represented by Right to Work Foundation attorneys then successfully moved to intervene in the UAW's challenge of the election results.
According to the news release, the new suit relies on Foundation-won precedent upheld by a federal appeals court that a Florida casino company's assistance to union officials during a card check unionization campaign could constitute "thing[s] of value" under the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA). Under the LMRA, employers are prohibited from handing over "any money or other thing of value" to union officials, a provision that is supposed to prevent them from selling out workers' rights in exchange for corporate concessions.
Late last year, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments and then "dismissed as improvidently granted" a union appeal of a federal court ruling that these neutrality schemes could violate federal law, thus leaving the lower court's ruling intact.
The suit contends that the neutrality arrangement between VW and UAW union organizers contain numerous such prohibited provisions, including mandatory pro-union meetings, use of company property by outside UAW organizers, and clauses preventing VW and its managers from opposing unionization, all of which were implemented in the lead up to the vote that UAW lost 712-626.
The Foundation claims that in exchange for that valuable organizing assistance, the UAW promised the company that, once workers were unionized, UAW officials would delegate many of the union's duties to a German-style Works Council, limit bargaining demands to ensure company "cost advantages," and not go on strike. Further, the UAW promised not to make negative comments about VW or to conduct organizing activity for one year if the union lost the election.
"UAW union officials and Volkswagen management have colluded to deprive these workers of a fair vote from the start," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Enough is enough, which is why these workers are seeking to prevent further VW assistance to the UAW's organizing efforts."
UAW President Bob King responded, saying, “The lawsuit filed by the National Right to Work Legal Foundation is baseless. At the time it negotiated its Election Agreement with Volkswagen Group of America, the UAW had already established for the Company that it was the majority representative of hourly Volkswagen employees, on the lawful basis of authorization cards signed by a majority of such employees. Moreover, even if the UAW had not demonstrated this status, the UAW's Election Agreement with Volkswagen Group of America would still be lawful, just like many other neutrality agreements the UAW and other unions have negotiated with employers throughout the United States.
“The National Right to Work Legal Foundation has a history of frivolous lawsuits trying to stop workers from joining the UAW, including failed lawsuits at Dana and Freightliner.”
More Business News
Last Update on August 29, 2014 17:14 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumer spending fell in July, with a drop in auto purchases accounting for most of the weakness. Income growth also slowed in July.
The Commerce Department says consumer spending edged down 0.1 percent last month after a 0.4 percent increase in June. It was the first decline in spending since January. Income growth slowed to a 0.2 percent rise in July, the weakest showing in seven months.
The fall in spending came primarily from a decline in auto sales, which took a breather in July after posting big gains in recent months, although spending in other areas was also weak.
Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, so it needs to recover for the economy to keep its momentum in the second half of the year.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumer sentiment ticked up in August, driven by greater optimism about jobs, rising incomes, and increasing wealth. The increase largely occurred among higher-income groups.
The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 82.5 from 81.8 in July. Still, it has barely risen in the past year.
Consumers have sent mixed signals in recent months. The Michigan index has fluctuated between 80 and 82.5 since December. A measure of consumer confidence by the Conference Board rose this month to nearly a seven-year high. And yet Americans cut back their spending in July.
Nearly 60 percent of households in the top third of income earners say they are financially better off this month, the Michigan survey found, compared with only 36 percent in the bottom two-thirds.
DETROIT (AP) -- U.S. investors should soon be able to buy stock in Chrysler for the first time in seven years.
Italy's Fiat and Chrysler are merging to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Fiat says Friday that an ongoing tally of investors suggests there is not enough opposition to derail the deal.
Earlier this month, Fiat shareholders approved combining the companies. But Italian law gives dissenters the right to cash out. Fiat has said that if investors offered more than 500 million euros ($650 million) in shares, the merger would be off.
Fiat SpA will announce the final tally by Sept. 4. So far the maximum number of shares to be cashed is below the cap.
Shares of Chrysler haven't been publicly traded since 2007 when it was still combined with German automaker Daimler.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Federal regulators are putting Reynolds American Inc.'s planned $25 billion takeover of rival cigarette maker Lorillard Inc. under the microscope.
The nation's second-biggest tobacco company said Friday that the Federal Trade Commission has asked for additional information as part of an antitrust review of the deal.
In July, Reynolds announced the deal to combine two of the nation's oldest and biggest tobacco companies, creating a formidable No. 2 to rival Altria Group Inc., owner of Philip Morris USA.
Reynolds markets Camel, Pall Mall and Natural American Spirit cigarettes. Lorillard sells Newport, Maverick and Kent cigarettes.
The companies plan to sell the Kool, Salem, Winston, Maverick and blu eCig brands to Imperial Tobacco Group for $7.1 billion to ease regulatory concerns about competition.
HEALTH OVERHAUL-TAX FORMS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal agency that brought you the glitchy HealthCare.gov website has a massive new project.
If the Health and Human Services department has trouble this time, that could delay tax refunds for many people.
Complicated connections between the new health care law and income taxes will start to surface in 2015.
HHS has to send millions of people who got health insurance tax credits this year a new tax form that's like a W-2 for health care. It's called a 1095-A.
If they're delayed beyond Jan. 31, people who got coverage through the new insurance exchanges may have to wait to file their taxes -- and collect their refunds.
Some tax preparation companies are worried.
The Obama administration says it's on task, but won't provide much detail.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- Inflation has fallen to an annual 0.3 percent in August for the 18 countries that use the euro, underlining the shakiness of the continent's economic recovery.
Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, says the figure is down from 0.4 percent in July, as expected by market analysts.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy, sent a modestly brighter signal as it rose to 0.9 percent from 0.8 percent.
The eurozone economy showed no growth in the second quarter as fears about the Ukrainian crisis weighed on consumers and investment decisions.
The European Central Bank has warned that inflation expectations are worsening and says it will add more stimulus if needed. Many analysts are predicting the bank will launch large-scale purchases of financial assets to pump more money into the economy.
SAO PAULO (AP) -- Brazil's government says the country's gross domestic product contracted 0.6 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months, sending the country's economy into a recession.
The government's IBGE statistics bureau said Friday it was the second consecutive quarterly contraction of the economy.
In the first quarter of the year, GDP was reported as having grown 0.2 percent. But that figure was revised downward to minus 0.2 percent.
The IBGE says the country's GDP stands at 1.27 trillion reals ($567 billion).
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