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UAW reaches tentative deal with Chrysler parent Stellantis to end 6-week strike : NPR

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UAW reaches tentative deal with Chrysler parent Stellantis to end 6-week strike : NPR

GM workers strike outside the General Motors Wentzville Assembly Plant in Wentzville, Missouri, on Sept. 15, 2023.

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1698535563 399 UAW reaches tentative deal with Chrysler parent Stellantis to end

GM workers strike outside the General Motors Wentzville Assembly Plant in Wentzville, Missouri, on Sept. 15, 2023.

Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

The United Auto Workers has announced a tentative deal with Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram, just days after the union struck a similar deal with Ford.

The deal includes major gains on wages and the reopening of an idled assembly plant in Illinois.

Both deals will not be finalized until they are voted on by the union’s members, who have the ability to reject the deals and send their representatives back to the bargaining table. The union has not yet released a timeline for those votes.

General Motors, the third of the Detroit automakers, remains in talks with the union.

“Going into these negotiations, the company wanted to cut 5,000 jobs across Stellantis,” Shawn Fain, the UAW president, said. “Our Stand Up Strike changed that equation. Not only did we not lose those 5,000 jobs, we turned it all the way around. By the end of this agreement, Stellantis will be adding 5,000 jobs.”

“The significance of this historic achievement coming just days after the UAW and Ford reached an agreement cannot be overstated,” acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su said in a statement. “Today’s agreement demonstrates what is possible when workers have a voice and a seat at the table.”

Stellantis has not yet released a statement or responded to NPR’s requests for comment.

Deals still need to be ratified

The two deals signal the potential end of a heated six-week strike that has pitted a union eager to claw back previous sacrifices, with a fiery leader in Fain, against the “Big 3” U.S. automakers, which have been making record profits and are eying a tricky transition to electric vehicles.

After it announced the tentative deal with Ford, the UAW said it was sending Ford workers back to work at struck plants — even before the contract was ratified.

The unusual move was designed to increase pressure on GM and Stellantis to rapidly come to a deal, Fain told members.

The UAW is similarly sending Stellantis workers back to their production lines as the vote is held. Striking GM workers remain on the picket line.

Ratification is not a symbolic measure, which means there’s no guarantee this saga is over. Just this month, the UAW announced a tentative deal with Mack Trucks — a manufacturer in the Volvo Group, and not part of the Big 3. But 73% of the membership rejected that contract, and the UAW and Mack Trucks are now back at the negotiating table.

Big raises, faster timelines

The full details of Ford and Stellantis’ tentative deals have not yet been shared. But the UAW has laid out some top-line figures. Both deals include a 25% pay increase – and, on top of that, regular cost of living increases pegged to inflation.

In total, the union expects wages to rise by 33% for top earners, to $42 an hour. Percentage gains for entry-level workers and temps will be significantly higher: up to 165% pay increases for some lower-paid Stellantis workers.

New workers will also reach top pay in just three years, instead of eight years.

The contracts do not include a return to pensions and retirement benefits for all workers – a union demand that companies said was a financial nonstarter. The union has indicated that they do include increases in 401(k) contributions and enhanced benefits for those who do have pensions.

Both contracts also include the right to strike over plant closures, which the UAW had identified as a priority for protecting jobs moving forward, including to prevent closures tied to the disruptive transition to electric vehicles.

The tentative deal with Stellantis also includes an agreement to reopen Belvidere, a shuttered vehicle assembly plant in Illinois, producing a new mid-size truck— a key union goal.

An unusual approach

The UAW has separate contracts with the three Detroit automakers, but historically the contracts tend to be very similar. In fact, the union’s general practice was to negotiate with just one company, and then the other two companies would more or less match that contract.

This year’s talks were different. The union negotiated with, and went on strike against, all three companies simultaneously.

The strike strategy was also novel. The union initially struck just one plant per company, and then expanded the strike over time.

The expansions were meant to keep UAW’s strategy unpredictable, with the union announcing new strike locations based on how talks were going at the table.

And unlike previous UAW leaders, Fain took a much more transparent and confrontational approach, taking to Facebook Live and YouTube to provide detailed updates on proposals while characterizing the strike as a war between the rich and the working class. At one point he even filmed himself throwing the automakers’ proposals into a black trash bin, which quickly became a symbol of the talks.

The automakers were frustrated by the union’s tactics, and by Fain, calling the announcements of new strikes publicity stunts, while describing the rhetoric as needlessly inflammatory.

“It’s not about theatrics,” Fain responded in one of his Facebook Live events last month. “It’s about power. The power we have as working-class people.”

In recent earnings calls, GM said the strike had cost it more than $800 million while Ford, which maintains a larger share of its production in the U.S. than its rivals, pegged its losses at $1.3 billion.

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Facebook Faces Yet Another Outage: Platform Encounters Technical Issues Again

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Facebook Problem Again

Uppdated: It seems that today’s issues with Facebook haven’t affected as many users as the last time. A smaller group of people appears to be impacted this time around, which is a relief compared to the larger incident before. Nevertheless, it’s still frustrating for those affected, and hopefully, the issues will be resolved soon by the Facebook team.

Facebook had another problem today (March 20, 2024). According to Downdetector, a website that shows when other websites are not working, many people had trouble using Facebook.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has had issues. Just a little while ago, there was another problem that stopped people from using the site. Today, when people tried to use Facebook, it didn’t work like it should. People couldn’t see their friends’ posts, and sometimes the website wouldn’t even load.

Downdetector, which watches out for problems on websites, showed that lots of people were having trouble with Facebook. People from all over the world said they couldn’t use the site, and they were not happy about it.

When websites like Facebook have problems, it affects a lot of people. It’s not just about not being able to see posts or chat with friends. It can also impact businesses that use Facebook to reach customers.

Since Facebook owns Messenger and Instagram, the problems with Facebook also meant that people had trouble using these apps. It made the situation even more frustrating for many users, who rely on these apps to stay connected with others.

During this recent problem, one thing is obvious: the internet is always changing, and even big websites like Facebook can have problems. While people wait for Facebook to fix the issue, it shows us how easily things online can go wrong. It’s a good reminder that we should have backup plans for staying connected online, just in case something like this happens again.

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Christian family goes in hiding after being cleared of blasphemy

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Christian family goes in hiding after being cleared of blasphemy

LAHORE, Pakistan — A court in Pakistan granted bail to a Christian falsely charged with blasphemy, but he and his family have separated and gone into hiding amid threats to their lives, sources said.

Haroon Shahzad (right) with attorney Aneeqa Maria. | The Voice Society/Morning Star News

Haroon Shahzad, 45, was released from Sargodha District Jail on Nov. 15, said his attorney, Aneeqa Maria. Shahzad was charged with blasphemy on June 30 after posting Bible verses on Facebook that infuriated Muslims, causing dozens of Christian families in Chak 49 Shumaali, near Sargodha in Punjab Province, to flee their homes.

Lahore High Court Judge Ali Baqir Najfi granted bail on Nov. 6, but the decision and his release on Nov. 15 were not made public until now due to security fears for his life, Maria said.

Shahzad told Morning Star News by telephone from an undisclosed location that the false accusation has changed his family’s lives forever.

“My family has been on the run from the time I was implicated in this false charge and arrested by the police under mob pressure,” Shahzad told Morning Star News. “My eldest daughter had just started her second year in college, but it’s been more than four months now that she hasn’t been able to return to her institution. My other children are also unable to resume their education as my family is compelled to change their location after 15-20 days as a security precaution.”

Though he was not tortured during incarceration, he said, the pain of being away from his family and thinking about their well-being and safety gave him countless sleepless nights.

“All of this is due to the fact that the complainant, Imran Ladhar, has widely shared my photo on social media and declared me liable for death for alleged blasphemy,” he said in a choked voice. “As soon as Ladhar heard about my bail, he and his accomplices started gathering people in the village and incited them against me and my family. He’s trying his best to ensure that we are never able to go back to the village.”

Shahzad has met with his family only once since his release on bail, and they are unable to return to their village in the foreseeable future, he said.

“We are not together,” he told Morning Star News. “They are living at a relative’s house while I’m taking refuge elsewhere. I don’t know when this agonizing situation will come to an end.”

The Christian said the complainant, said to be a member of Islamist extremist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and also allegedly connected with banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, filed the charge because of a grudge. Shahzad said he and his family had obtained valuable government land and allotted it for construction of a church building, and Ladhar and others had filed multiple cases against the allotment and lost all of them after a four-year legal battle.

“Another probable reason for Ladhar’s jealousy could be that we were financially better off than most Christian families of the village,” he said. “I was running a successful paint business in Sargodha city, but that too has shut down due to this case.”

Regarding the social media post, Shahzad said he had no intention of hurting Muslim sentiments by sharing the biblical verse on his Facebook page.

“I posted the verse a week before Eid Al Adha [Feast of the Sacrifice] but I had no idea that it would be used to target me and my family,” he said. “In fact, when I came to know that Ladhar was provoking the villagers against me, I deleted the post and decided to meet the village elders to explain my position.”

The village elders were already influenced by Ladhar and refused to listen to him, Shahzad said.

“I was left with no option but to flee the village when I heard that Ladhar was amassing a mob to attack me,” he said.

Shahzad pleaded with government authorities for justice, saying he should not be punished for sharing a verse from the Bible that in no way constituted blasphemy.

Similar to other cases

Shahzad’s attorney, Maria, told Morning Star News that events in Shahzad’s case were similar to other blasphemy cases filed against Christians.

“Defective investigation, mala fide on the part of the police and complainant, violent protests against the accused persons and threats to them and their families, forcing their displacement from their ancestral areas, have become hallmarks of all blasphemy allegations in Pakistan,” said Maria, head of The Voice Society, a Christian paralegal organization.

She said that the case filed against Shahzad was gross violation of Section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which states that police cannot register a case under the Section 295-A blasphemy statute against a private citizen without the approval of the provincial government or federal agencies.

Maria added that Shahzad and his family have continued to suffer even though there was no evidence of blasphemy.

“The social stigma attached with a blasphemy accusation will likely have a long-lasting impact on their lives, whereas his accuser, Imran Ladhar, would not have to face any consequence of his false accusation,” she said.

The judge who granted bail noted that Shahzad was charged with blasphemy under Section 295-A, which is a non-cognizable offense, and Section 298, which is bailable. The judge also noted that police had not submitted the forensic report of Shahzad’s cell phone and said evidence was required to prove that the social media was blasphemous, according to Maria.

Bail was set at 100,000 Pakistani rupees (US $350) and two personal sureties, and the judge ordered police to further investigate, she said.

Shahzad, a paint contractor, on June 29 posted on his Facebook page 1 Cor. 10:18-21 regarding food sacrificed to idols, as Muslims were beginning the four-day festival of Eid al-Adha, which involves slaughtering an animal and sharing the meat.

A Muslim villager took a screenshot of the post, sent it to local social media groups and accused Shahzad of likening Muslims to pagans and disrespecting the Abrahamic tradition of animal sacrifice.

Though Shahzad made no comment in the post, inflammatory or otherwise, the situation became tense after Friday prayers when announcements were made from mosque loudspeakers telling people to gather for a protest, family sources previously told Morning Star News.

Fearing violence as mobs grew in the village, most Christian families fled their homes, leaving everything behind.

In a bid to restore order, the police registered a case against Shahzad under Sections 295-A and 298. Section 295-A relates to “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs” and is punishable with imprisonment of up to 10 years and fine, or both. Section 298 prescribes up to one year in prison and a fine, or both, for hurting religious sentiments.

Pakistan ranked seventh on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of the most difficult places to be a Christian, up from eighth the previous year.

Morning Star News is the only independent news service focusing exclusively on the persecution of Christians. The nonprofit’s mission is to provide complete, reliable, even-handed news in order to empower those in the free world to help persecuted Christians, and to encourage persecuted Christians by informing them that they are not alone in their suffering.

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Individual + Team Stats: Hornets vs. Timberwolves

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CHARLOTTE HORNETS MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES You can follow us for future coverage by liking us on Facebook & following us on X: Facebook – All Hornets X – …

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