The United Auto Workers announced Monday that it is withdrawing its appeal of the outcome of a union vote at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Tennessee.
In a statement released one hour before the scheduled start of a National Labor Relations Board hearing in Chattanooga, UAW President Bob King said the union decided to abandon the challenge because it could have taken months or even years to come to a conclusion.
“The UAW is ready to put February’s tainted election in the rearview mirror and instead focus on advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga,” King said.
The UAW had filed its appeal after Volkswagen workers rejected the union in a 712 to 626 vote in February, arguing that public statements from Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) and other GOP officials had raised fears about the plant’s future if workers there organized.
Leaked documents later revealed that Tennessee had tied a $300 million incentive offer for expanding the plant to the satisfactory outcome of the labor situation there.
Volkswagen wanted to introduce a German-style works council at the plant to represent both salaried and blue-collar workers, but the company’s interpretation of U.S. law has been that it can’t do so without the involvement of an independent union.
The company issued a statement welcoming the UAW decision as “an important gesture for a constructive dialogue in Chattanooga.” Volkswagen said it will continue to pursue its efforts to establish “a new, innovative form of co-determination in the USA.”
— Associated Press
Kraft Foods is recalling 96,000 pounds of its Oscar Mayer wieners because they may mistakenly contain cheese.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said Sunday that Kraft’s “Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners” may instead contain the company’s “Classic Cheese Dogs.”
The agency said the product labels are incorrect and do not reflect the ingredients associated with the pasteurized cheese in the cheese dogs. Those products were made with milk, a known allergen, which is not declared on the label.
It said the problem was discovered by a consumer who notified Kraft on Friday. The company alerted the USDA the following day, according to a statement.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service said it has not received reports of adverse reactions.
A representative of Kraft Foods Group, Joyce Hodel, said in an e-mail that the hot dogs were made in a plant in Columbia, Mo.
The products were made in early March and bear the number “Est. 537H” inside the USDA mark of inspection.
— Associated Press
● U.S. safety regulators closed a four-year probe into power-steering problems in almost 335,000 older Saturn Ions after General Motors recalled the cars, which are also part of an unrelated recall of defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in documents filed in its online database over the weekend, said it was closing its probe into 2004 to 2007 model-year Ion cars after GM’s recall of the vehicles last month. The agency opened a preliminary evaluation of the issue in January 2010. The Ion was among the 1.5 million cars GM recalled March 31 for possible loss of power steering.●
● A measure of the U.S. economy’s health rose in March for the third consecutive month. The Conference Board said its index of leading indicators increased 0.8 percent in March after a
0.5 percent rise in February and a modest 0.2 percent gain in January. It was the best showing since a 0.9 percent gain in November.
● Halliburton made money in the first quarter on rising revenue in the Middle East and Asia, and the chief executive said he sensed an upturn in the North American market. Halliburton reported first-quarter net income of $622 million, or 73 cents per share. Revenue rose 5 percent, to $7.35 billion from $6.97 billion a year ago. In 2013, the company reported a loss of $18 million, or 2 cents per share, as it took a $637 million charge to cover the cost of lawsuits over the explosion on the gulf drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which killed 11 workers. Halliburton was hired to cement a BP well.
● Valeant Pharmaceuticals has teamed up with activist investor Bill Ackman in a bid for Botox maker Allergan that could be worth about $40 billion. Valeant said it intends to propose a merger with Allergan using a combination of Valeant stock and cash. The transaction size has not been disclosed, but Valeant expects the cash portion of the deal to be at least $15 billion. In a separate filing, Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management said it owns a 9.7 percent stake in Allergan worth $4.1 billion. Ackman’s stake would make an Allergan deal worth about $40 billion.
— From news services
● 10 a.m.: Existing-home sales for March.
● Earnings: AT&T, Comcast, Lockheed Martin, McDonald’s, Yum Brands.