Chattanooga Officials Threaten Subsidizes if VW Unionizes – German Courts Could Crack Down on Union Busting in Alabama – Simpson to Air “Night of Living Wage”

Chattanooga Officials threaten to take away tax incentives if they unionize (Robin Rudd/Chattanooga Times Free Press)


Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, where I am getting ready to go directly to Chattanooga in a week. 

With the union campaign heating up there, I won’t have time to go back to Pittsburgh. I’m going directly to Chattanooga so I can dig in for the fight.

Chattanooga Officials Threaten to Cut Tax Incentives if VW Unionizes

This week, Republican Chattanooga County and City officials held a press conference outside of Volkswagen’s plant

Appearing in front of a banner that read “Protect Our Jobs – Vote NO UAW,” the elected officials told assembled reporters and TV crews that the city and county have invested millions of dollars into the plant over the years and they would be closely monitoring the election

In a County Council meeting this week, Hamilton County Mayor Welton Wamp warned that if the workers at the plant voted to unionize that it would have “major consequences” for the plant moving forward; a subtle reference that the county may vote to cut off millions of dollars of subsidies for the plant. 

In both the 2014 and 2019 campaigns at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, local officials also threatened to cut off tax incentives, which proved effective both times in dampening union support. 

However, Volkswagen in 2022 expanded their plant to produce electric vehicles, making any downsizing extremely unlikely with the incentives that President Joe Biden has provided for electric vehicle production. 

For more on why the plant is unlikely to close, check out Dave Dayen at the American Prospect. 
(Be sure to also check out my 5-page analysis of why the UAW drive at VW in Chattanooga is very different than two previous drives that I covered there in 2014 and 2019)

Donate Hotel Points for UAW Election Coverage in Chattanooga

I am going to have to stay for more than a week in Chattanooga to cover the UAW Election at Volkswagen. To avoid having to rent a car, I am going to stay in downtown Chattanooga and have the camera operator drive us around. 

It will likely cost us nearly $700 for a week’s stay. 

If anyone has any hotel points that they want to donate to help us defer the costs, please contact me [email protected] 

Donate to Help Us Cover the Historic UAW Election at Volkswagen in Chattanooga 

German Courts Could Crack Down on Union Busting in Alabama 

This week, the UAW announced that they are going to file for a union election at Mercedes within the week, meaning that a union election will likely be held by late April or early May. 

The union has already filed multiple National Labor Relations Board charges against Mercedes in the US, but now the UAW has also filed charges against Mercedes Benz in Germany. 

Under the “German Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains,” UAW can be held liable for the mistreatment of its workers in Alabama. 

The UAW is the first American company to file a complaint under the new law, which just took effect last year. 

“Workers at Mercedes-Benz’s sprawling assembly and battery plant in Vance, Ala., are organizing to join the UAW and have faced fierce backlash from company management,” the UAW said in a statement. “Every Mercedes-Benz plant in the world is unionized — except the company’s two plants in the United States”. 

Read a full list of the charges that UAW has filed against Mercedes-Benz in a German Court. 

Union Democracy Revolt Squashed in Major League Players’ Union 

Last week, Payday covered how major league players had risen up in revolt against the Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark and demanded that Harry Marino receive a leadership role in the organization. 

However, now it appears that the uprising has been quashed with the help of sports agent Scott Boras. 

“We still have issues to discuss, but one thing clear among the MLB executive subcommittee members is that this is no longer a Harry Marino discussion, in any respect,” said MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark in a statement released by the union. 

For more, check out ESPN. 

California Schools to Compete w/ Fast Food Companies to Hire Workers after $20-an-Hour Minimum Wage 

This week, California enacted a $20-an-hour minimum wage for fast food workers. Now, some schools in California say they are competing with fast food companies to hire workers, particularly to work in cafeterias. 

“They are all very worried about it. Most are saying they anticipate it will be harder and harder to hire employees,” Carrie Bogdanovich, president of the California School Nutrition Association, told the AP. 

For more, check out the AP. 

Simpsons to Air “Night of the Living Wage” on Sunday

Finally, the Simpsons will air an episode on Sunday entitled “Night of the Living Wage.” The episode is set to air on Sunday Night at 8/7c on Fox and the next day on Hulu. From TV Regular

“When Marge lands a job in a high-pressure ghost kitchen, she quickly realizes that the working conditions are less than ideal. Determined to improve the situation for herself and her fellow workers, Marge decides to take action and start a union. However, her noble efforts lead to unexpected consequences, and she finds herself facing challenges she never anticipated.

As Marge navigates the ups and downs of her new job and union endeavors, audiences can look forward to plenty of laughs, heartfelt moments, and perhaps even some valuable lessons about the importance of standing up for one’s rights. Don’t miss “Night of the Living Wage” on April 7 at 8:00 PM, only on FOX.”

For more, check out TV Regular. 

Simpsons writer Cesar Mazariegos said the episode was inspired by the Hollywood Strikes. 

“We wrote this ep in the lead up to the @WGAWest and @sagaftra strikes, and produced it after winning our contract,” tweeted Mazariegos. “Our amazing @IATSE animators and production staff did a hell of a job on this one, and their contract is up next.” 

Check out a preview clip of the episode, which is a parody of the hit show “The Bear.” 

Strikes & News Elsewhere 

Alright yinz, that’s all for today. Keep sending tips, story ideas, comments and complaints to [email protected] 

Donate to help us cover the historic UAW election at Volkswagen. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 776 recurring donors today. Thanks for your all support and contributions. 

Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]