UAW Election at VW in Chattanooga Set for April 17th – Mercedes Workers File Unfair Labor Charge – Cillian Murphy to Star in Miners for Democracy Biopic

UAW workers at Mercedes in Vance, Alabama are preparing to vote in a historic UAW election (UAW)

Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, where Bolsonaro may be under house arrest very soon.

Bolsonaro May Be Forced Into House Arrest 

Yesterday, the New York Times revealed that Bolsonaro stayed at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia for two days in a bid to seek asylum.

Under the terms of legal order that took away Bolsonaro’s passport in February as part of an investigation into his attempt to order a coup, the former Brazilian president was not allowed to leave the country. By staying for two nights at the Hungarian embassy, Bolsonaro technically left the country. 

Now, Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexander de Moraes is giving Bolsonaro 48 hours to explain why he was at the Hungarian embassy. If de Moraes is unsatisfied with Bolsonaro’s answer, he could order Bolsonaro into house arrest or force him to wear an electronic ankle monitor. 

For more, check out Telesur English. 

Volkswagen Union Election Set for April 17-19th 

I am getting ready to head back to the United States on April 10th to go down to Chattanooga to cover the union election. (Big thanks to our readers for helping me afford to change my ticket back). 

Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board announced that Volskwagen would hold a union election for 4,300 workers on April 17-19th. Payday is hoping to hire a camera operator to help us film in Chattanooga. 

Donate to help us cover this historic union election. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 774 recurring donors today. 

Mercedes Workers File Federal Charges Against Mercedes 

Last month, Mercedes workers in Vance, Alabama announced that a majority of workers at the plant had signed union cards and expect to file for a union election soon. 

(See our story “After 25 Years, Mercedes Workers Say Union Could Come “Any Day Now”) Today, Mercedes workers announced that they have filed federal unfair labor practice charges against Mercedes. 

One pro-union Mercedes worker, Al Ezell, who has stage 4 lung cancer, was given permission by management to have his cellphone on the floor to attend to medical phone calls. However, earlier this month, he was disciplined for it despite having permission. 

“Management called me into the office to discipline me for having my phone on the floor. My manager looked me in the face and told me she didn’t care that I have cancer or that I had permission, she was going to enforce the company’s zero tolerance policy,” said Ezell. “We’ve never had a zero-tolerance policy for having a phone on the floor. Management is just trying to scare us, but we won’t back down.”  

Workers also say that they are being interrogated for voicing pro-union sentiments in anti-union captive meetings. 

“During the meeting, I told management that it was suspicious that I was being called into the office on the same day that I spoke up in an anti-union meeting,” said Taylor Snipes. “My manager said the two had nothing to do with one another, but then proceeded to aggressively interrogate me about why I support having a union.” 

For more, check out the UAW’s website. 

IATSE Continues to Make Progress at the Bargaining Table 

On July 31st, IATSE’s contract is set to expire. With workers mobilized from last summer’s strikes and the studios still reeling from the economic effects, IATSE says that they are pleased to see the studio association (AMPTP) making progress at the bargaining table. 

Now, IATSE locals 600, 729, and 800 announced that they reached a tentative agreement on local “craft-specific” issues related to workplace conditions. The union still has to bargain a national contract on wages and hourly issues, but the union said the progress on the local issues is a positive sign. 

“I commend the Negotiating Committees of Locals 600, 729 and 800 for their work,” said IATSE Vice President Mike Miller in a statement. “The fact that tentative agreements were reached shows that the multi-faceted preparation work done by all our West Coast Studio Locals going into these talks is paying dividends.”

Cillian Murphy to Make Movie on Assassination of Miners for Democracy Leader

Finally, Cillian Murphy, who won the Oscar for Best Actor for portraying Robert Opennheimer in the film Oppenheimer, has signed to star in an adaptation of the book “Blood Runs Coal: The Yablonski Murders and the Battle for the United Mine Workers of America.” 

The film depicts the 1969 murder of Miners for Democracy leader Jock Yablonski at the hands of corrupt Mineworkers Union leader Tony Boyle. 

Murphy would play Yablonski’s son Chip. A labor lawyer, Chip Yabolinski fought to have both of his parent’s murders prosecuted, and also to have the federal government overturn the election. 

For more, check out Deadline.

News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere 

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

Donate to help us hire a cameraman to cover the April 17th-19th UAW election in Chattanooga. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 774 recurring donors today.  Thanks again for all the support. 

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]