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5 Things to Know: UAW Reaches Historic Deal with Daimler Truck

...and four more stores from April 21-27, 2024

United Auto Workers organizers and workers hold signs that say Stand Up Daimler
The United Auto Workers union reached a historic tentative agreement with Daimler Truck during negotiations late Friday night in Charlotte. (Photo courtesy of United Auto Workers)

United Auto Workers Reach Historic Deal with Daimler Truck in Charlotte

The United Auto Workers union reached an historic tentative agreement with Daimler Truck during negotiations late Friday night in Charlotte, avoiding a potential strike ahead of the contract’s expiration at midnight.

The four-year agreement delivers major economic gains for 7,300 workers, according to a release from UAW, including raises of more than 25%, the end of wage tiers, and the introduction profit-sharing and cost-of-living for the first time since Daimler workers first organized with the UAW in the 1990s.

Daimler is a Portland-based company that develops trucks and buses under the Freightliner, Thomas Built Buses, Western Star, Mercedes-Benz, FUSO, BharatBenz, RIZON and Setra brands. Friday night’s deal affects workers who build Freightliner and Western Star trucks as well as Thomas Built buses.

Late Friday night, United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain prepared remarks from Charlotte, where he had helped lead negotiations at a neutral-site hotel, saying he was “honored to be joined by the badass bargaining committee” that represents Daimler North America.

“What started 32 years ago this month at the Mt. Holly plant, when the courageous 17-day strikers stood up and won a historic, first of its kind agreement, has come full circle,” Fain said. “For months, we said that record profits should mean a record contract. And, UAW family, our determination and solidarity has delivered.”

Read more: Paying Respects and Looking Forward on Workers Memorial Day

Negotiations began three weeks ago, with Friday night always known to be the deadline. Hundreds of members held practice pickets in the meantime, chanting labor slogans and singing songs like “Mother Trucker.”

“They tried to stonewall us, but we kept our eye on the clock,” said Fain. “And when that deadline came closer, the company was suddenly ready to talk. So tonight, we celebrate.”

Fain said he will be in attendance at the UAW Local 3520 headquarters in Statesville for a victory rally later today.

Panthers Draft USC Wide Receiver Xavier Legette

The Carolina Panthers selected wide receiver and Mullins, South Carolina native Xavier Legette with the 32nd overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft on Friday night.

The pick came after the Panthers traded with the Buffalo Bills on Thursday to regain a first-round pick, albeit the last one. The Panthers sent the 33rd and 141st pick to the Bills to move into the first round and draft Legette. Taking him at 32 instead of 33 gives the Panthers a fifth-year option on Legette’s rookie contract.

Legette spent five years with the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, breaking out in his final season when he pulled 72 receptions for 1,255 yards and seven touchdowns, making him the fifth receiver in Gamecocks history to surpass 1,000 yards.

Xavier Legette flexes his muscles in a locker room wearing a Carolina Panthers hat
Xavier Legette (photo courtesy of Carolina Panthers)

Of course, Panthers owner David Tepper did find a way to make the draft news all about him. Hours before the draft, Tepper stopped by Dilworth Neighborhood Grille to inquire about a sign outside the restaurant that read, “Please let the coach and GM pick this year.”

According to a video obtained by WBTV, Tepper walked into the bar with another person, exchanged pleasantries with the host, took a person’s hat off their head, returned it, pointed to the sign outside, and then ended the conversation with a handshake.

In an interview with WCNC on Saturday, Dilworth Neighborhood Grille owner Matt Wohlfarth said the entire interaction was all in good fun.

Man Arrested Months After Deadly Wreck

A 24-year-old man has been arrested for killing a man with his vehicle in a wreck that occurred last December.

According to CMPD, police responded to a call about a pedestrian who had been struck by a car on the afternoon of Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023, on Parkton Road near the Home Depot on Albemarle Road in east Charlotte, where they located 38-year-old Justin Travis Scott lying in the roadway with injuries. Medic transported Scott to the hospital, but he died two months later, on Feb. 25, 2024.

Following Scott’s death, the CMPD’s Major Crash Investigation Unit was assigned to investigate the wreck and found that the driver was speeding and driving recklessly when the incident occurred. On Wednesday, April 24, they arrested the driver of the BMW that struck Scott. The 24-year-old man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving, driving with a revoked license, driving with no liability insurance, and driving an unregistered vehicle.

County Launching Slate of Free Mental Health Workshops

To help spotlight Mental Health Awareness Month, the Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH) department’s Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) II team will offer a wide array of educational opportunities throughout May to build mental well-being. 

 The workshops will cover suicide prevention, understanding stress, and youth mental health first aid. There will also be a workshop for adults who interact with children and teens who have experienced trauma.

 “We are creating a network of education and support for our residents so they can help their families, students, neighbors, and friends,” said Ebony Rao, MCPH ReCAST II senior program manager, in the release.

“We want to make this information available across the county to those adults who are interacting with the children dealing with trauma. We know that mental health and wellness is a community priority and we are here to provide that help and support.” 

Workshops will begin on Tuesday, April 30, with a QPR Suicide Prevention Workshop at the Allegra Westbrooks Library on Beatties Ford Road. All workshops are free to attend, but participants must register prior.

GreenFaith Leads Climate Protest in Uptown

Around 50 faith leaders and climate activists staged a protest vigil on April 23  at the Bank of America headquarters in Uptown, condemning the bank for backpedaling on commitments to phase out fossil fuels. 

The gathering, led by a coalition of local organizers, meets regularly to speak against international banks pumping trillions of dollars into fossil fuel financing, including Bank of America. 

The group sang protest songs and chants in between testimonials from local frontline community members and faith leaders including Pat Watkins, a founding leader of the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement and Fossil Free UMC; activist Jerome Wagner, who spoke about his time in jail for blocking construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline; and Rev. Amy Brooks, who highlighted the global connection between activists being targeted for activism on a pipeline that’s financed in part by Bank of America. 

The group held a grief ritual in front of Bank of America, ringing a bell for all that is being lost to the climate crisis.

“Bank of America is the third largest financier of fossil fuel expansion in the world, providing the top 100 companies expanding fossil fuels with at least $87 billion since 2016,” said Brooks, an organizer with GreenFaith. “These actions are destroying the planet and causing untold human suffering. We witness this in our region with the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and we know it’s also happening on a global scale by exacerbating the climate crisis.” 

According to a release from event organizers that cited last year’s Banking in Climate Chaos report, Citi, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have poured almost $1 trillion into oil, coal & gas industries since 2016.

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