No to union, yes to barbecue: Down in Alabama

Gun Rights

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Union’s loss in Vance

Workers at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama, along with the electric-battery plant in Woodstock, voted last week against joining the United Auto Workers Union, according to reports.

It was not a particularly close election, with the no vote carrying nearly 600 more workers than the yes vote. That means that despite the union’s announcement that a “supermajority” of workers at the Vance plant had signed union authorization cards (UAW officials said its threshold for a vote was 70%), only about 44% voted to join the union.

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If you’ve been paying attention for the past 24 years, you know that questioning or even contesting elections has become the American way. Whether this one will be contested remains to be seen, although the National Labor Relations Board is investigating reports of union-busting at the Mercedes plant. If those reports are found valid and they are sustained at hearings, we could see another election.

UAW president Shawn Fain, who’s made bold statements in recent months regarding union growth in the South, said the fight would continue. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey celebrated the union’s defeat: “Alabama is not Michigan, and we are not the Sweet Home to the UAW.”

Big bucks bring, well, big bucks

When you hear the word “tourism” it’s likely you think of beaches and theme parks, or maybe mountain cabins and pancake shops.

But Alabama is seeing growth of a different kind of tourism, reports’s John Sharp, and it’s happening in part of the state that can use a boost.

Hunting and fishing tourism is growing in the rural Black Belt part of the state. According to Economics Research Services out of Montgomery, hunting and fishing has $1.7 billion of economic impact in the 23 counties of the Black Belt.

That’s a big driver in the overall growth of tourism in the region, which supports 45,500 jobs. The overall tourism economic impact in the Black Belt in 2023 was $3.8 billion, showing a growth rate 9% above what had been projected.

Pork-shoulder champion

Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ of Decatur, Ala., has won another prize in the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis, reports’s Sarah Whites-Koditschek.

Big Bob Gibson’s won the pork-shoulder competition. Which is a big one because to a lot of people, pulled pork is the definition of barbecue.

The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest dates back to the 1970s and has categories for ribs, shoulder and whole hog. And that’s just for pork. Big Bob Gibson’s added to its 15 championships that span pork, ribs, brisket and chicken.

The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint of Ocean Springs, Miss., was named grand champion and won the whole-hog division.


“It’s sickening. I think as a country related to gun violence, not just in urban cores but mass shootings as well … we’re the only country where this is an issue. You would think as the nation of the free world we would have solved this issue by now.”

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, to MSNBC’s Politics Nation host Al Sharpton, when asked to respond to Donald Trump’s praise of the NRA.

By the Numbers

That’s about how many third graders in Alabama are in danger of being held back over their reading scores, reports’s Trisha Powell Crain. That represents 9% of the state’s third-graders, down from the 17% that were below grade level a year ago. Many of the students facing potential retention are likely to hit their benchmarks by the end of the school year or through a summer reading camp.

More Alabama News

Born on This Date

In 1940, soul singer-songwriter Shorty Long of Birmingham. He died in a boating accident in 1969.

Quiz answers and results

Here’s how many answered each question correctly on Friday’s quiz:

The eastern indigo snake, once a common apex predator in Alabama forests, is glossy black with blue highlights, can grow eight feet long, and its diet has been known to include:

  • Copperhead snakes (CORRECT) 86.9%
  • Coyotes 7.9%
  • Poison ivy 5.2%
  • Biologists 0.0%

This brand’s officials says that in about three years, it will have a visual footprint in Birmingham that will welcome people to the city from an Interstate and even from the ground for people flying into the local airport.

  • Coca-Cola (CORRECT) 89.0%
  • UAB 7.3%
  • Regions Bank 3.1%
  • Birmingham Police Department 0.5%

Birmingham-Southern College officials have said multiple buyers have express interest in perhaps acquiring its campus after the university closes at the end of this month. It’s been reported that an offer of $52 million has been made by:

  • Alabama A&M (CORRECT) 92.1%
  • UAB 4.7%
  • Miles College 3.1%
  • Buc-ee’s 0.0%

Which of the following bills was passed in the Alabama House of Representatives but died when it did not come up in the Senate?

  • A ban on “Glock switches” for firearms. (CORRECT) 70.7%
  • A school choice plan to allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to help pay for private school. 13.1%
  • A bill making filing some false police reports a felony. 9.4%
  • A bill making it illegal for anyone to provide someone else with transportation to another state in order to buy a lottery ticket. 6.8%

Last month, for the first time, an underwater sighting of this creature was made and confirmed in Alabama Gulf waters:

  • A great white shark (CORRECT) 85.9%
  • An orca 9.4%
  • Oarfish 3.1%
  • Sea monkeys 1.6%

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