University of Alabama Got YouTube to Take Down Pro-UAW Ad – Hyundai Fires Union Organizer – 147 Dead in Floods in Southern Brazil

The University of Alabama has forced YouTube to take down a pro-UAW ad. (Alton Sports)

Greetings from the Burgh, where we are closely monitoring the UAW elections in Mercedes, Alabama, and the contract talks at IATSE. 

The University of Alabama Got YouTube to Take Down Pro-UAW Ad

Yesterday, Payday reported that seven-time College National Football Championship winner Nick Saban, who coached Alabama for 16 years, has asked UAW ally More Perfect Union to take down an ad. The ad features Saban praising the UAW while advocating for college football players’ right to unions. 

“It never scares me that people are organized. General Motors and the automotive industry has had unions for a long time, and they’ve survived, fairly well I think,” Saban says in a pro-union ad run by the pro-union group More Perfect Union.  “There’s been a lot of businesses that have been successful and worked with unions for many, many years. So I’m not anti-union. Unionize it, make it like the NFL”. 

Now, Payday Report has learned that the University of Alabama has gotten YouTube to take down More Perfect Union’s ad, which features Saban’s endorsement of unions. The University of Alabama has claimed copyright infringement because More Perfect Union displayed the university logo in the background of the video. 

More Perfect Union founder Faiz Shakir is baffled at why Saban would want the ads taken off the air.

“I don’t know why Saban made this line of attack about how we needed his permission. Since when do you need permission after someone goes to a press conference and talks out loud about their views?” said Shakir in an email to Payday Report. 

It’s unclear why Saban was upset by the video. 

However, Saban does own 9 Mercedes dealerships and has been hired by plant management to give pep talks in front of plant workers in Alabama. 

In addition to getting YouTube to take down the pro-UAW featuring Nick Saban, the University of Alabama has also sent a cease-and-desist letter to UAW asking them to stop using the red “A” of the University of Alabama shirts in UAW shirts they are handing out in Tuscaloosa. 

The shirts have proven quite popular among workers. The UAW told Payday Report that they have no intention of stopping using the t-shirts anytime soon. 

Donate to Help Us Cover the UAW Election at Mercedes in Alabama This Week 

Payday has already conducted two long podcasts with a UAW leader at Mercedes in Alabama. We have more work underway this week and need your help to cover this crucial union election. 

Donate to Help Us Cover the UAW Election at Mercedes in Alabama. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 775 recurring donors today. 

As Hyundai Fires Workers, Union Members Rally & Fight Back

Earlier this spring, UAW went public with an attempt to unionize at Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama. So far, the effort has yet to achieve a majority signup at the plant. 

Part of the reason is that Hyundai has fought back in much dirtier ways than either Mercedes or Volkswagen, two heavily unionized German companies whose anti-union tactics have been relatively lighter. 

This week, the UAW filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against Hyundai, alleging that the company has illegally fired a worker for union organizing. 

This week, Reverend Barber visited the workers and held a rally in a church. At the rally, workers described some of Hyundai’s heavy-handed anti-union tactics. 

“One thing they will do to make it difficult is tell people the plant is going to leave,” Robert Stozer told the Alabama Reflector. “They put all kinds of anti-union stuff on the television, and what the union cannot guarantee, and put all the thoughts into their mind so that they are scared.”

For more, check out the Alabama Reflector. 

What Caused 147 People to Die in Floods in Southern Brazil 

Finally, in the Southern Brazil province of Rio Grande do Sul, a Bolsonaro stronghold, at least 147 people were killed in severe flooding as more than 200,000 people were forced out of their homes. 

Over at Brasilwire, longtime Brazil-based correspondent Brian Mier has a look at why so many died: 

On May 5th, the Guaíba River reached a record level of 5.33 meters, the highest in history. Parenthetically, the causes for this, beyond the volume of torrential rains during the period, are associated with agricultural exploitation, especially focused on commodity production, which throughout history has severely damaged nature and altered the conditions of the Guaíba’s tributaries, among numerous other human, social, sanitary, and environmental damages.

Even so, with the Guaíba reaching its highest level ever, the city should have still been well protected by the flood protection system, which was built to withstand water levels up to 6 meters high.

The magnitude of the devastation was not only a consequence of the severity of this unprecedented climatic phenomenon but also of the failure of the City Hall in managing the system implemented over 50 years ago.

The city’s lack of protection is the work of the power consortium that has taken turns leading City Hall for 20 years, transforming Porto Alegre into a laboratory for ultra-liberal experiments. The city’s territory has been turned into a free-for-all for unscrupulous, segregating, and ecocidal economic exploitation by real estate capital in partnership with finance and the hegemonic media.

For more, check out Brasil Wire. 

Links & News Elsewhere 

All right, folks, that’s all for today. Keep sending tips, ideas, comments, and complaints to [email protected] 

Donate to help us cover the historic UAW election at Mercedes in Alabama. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 776 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]