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NLRB Upholds Ruling Against Mercedes, EPA Talks Clean-up near Mobile


The National Labor Relations Board says the Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa did violate federal labor laws. The panel upheld a ruling that Mercedes broke the law when it kept UAW supporters from handing out leaflets. The ruling by the three-member panel means Mercedes to update its employee handbook to allow union activities and to post notices admitting it did wrong. Mercedes has long declared that it is neutral on union questions. The UAW has been ramping up unionization efforts. Residents of a small community near Mobile will get to hear about efforts to clean up a nearby toxic waste site.

The Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public hearing today on what’s called the Stauffer Chemical Superfund site in the town of Axis. Two chemical companies dumped waste water containing mercury near Cold Creek swamp starting in the 1950’s. That prompted Washington to list the site for clean-up back in 1983. Lieutenant Deborah Cox is with the Uniformed Publuic Health Service.  She says a protective material will be poured on the contaminated areas…

“We’re going to apply a six inch nominal layer of material called Aquablock, that is similar to concrete. It comes out in pebbles. And when it hydrates in the water, it forms a solid layer which will encapsulate the mercury that’s in the swamp.”

The EPA says the one hundred and eighty five residents of Axis are invited to attend. Once the Aquablock is poured, inspectors will return in 2016 to evaluate the area to make sure the mercury is being contained.

Fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide may learn more about the championship playoff picture today. The committee that choses the four competing teams will release the latest grouping tonight. Mississippi State is expected to drop out of the final four following last weekend’s loss with Ole Miss. Alabama is currently number one. Head Coach Nick Saban says if the Tide hopes to do well in the playoffs, the team will have to do better than the shaky first half against Auburn during the Iron Bowl…

“We really haven’t played a whole lot of games where we give up forty two points and win. That’s not really been our style. So we need to do a better job with our players and preparing them for the games, so we can play better, and put them in a better position that they have a chance to be successful.”

The TCU horned frogs may move into playoff contention. Alabama will play Missouri in the SEC Championship on Saturday.

Fans of the UAB Blazers football team are rallying to head off what may be a plan to kill the program. Students marched to the administration building to protest the rumored ending of the school's football program. Protesters say they want to hear directly from UAB President Ray Watts about the fate of the school program. UAB’s head football Coach told on Sunday that he expects the school to end a program that has struggled financially. ?

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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