NLRB Files Charges Against Lear Corp., Alabama Prison System Under Stress

Jan 13, 2016

UAW pickets Lear Corporation plant

The federal government is charging a major Hyundai automotive supplier in Selma for threatening to fire employees and close the plant to keep workers from unionizing.

Lear Corporation is a Fortune 500 company that owns a car seat manufacturing plant in Selma. National Labor Relations Board regulators accused the company of intimidating employees for trying to unionize. Workers say one of their main complaints is stagnant wages; many employees have been with Lear for decades and still make little more than $10 an hour.

Letasha Irby has worked at Lear Selma for nearly 10 years. She says in addition to better wages, workers need better safety conditions in the manufacturing process.

“The chemical that’s used to make the foam seats is an isocyanate commonly known as TDI. When exposed to it, you can have upper respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and sinus infections.”

Lear released a statement Monday saying they deny all charges in the NLRB complaint and intend to defend themselves vigorously.

Alabama's prisons chief told lawmakers the state prison system is "under stress" because of aging facilities, low staffing and overcrowding.

Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn spoke to various lawmakers yesterday during preliminary budget hearings. He says state prisons currently house about 24,000 inmates in facilities designed for about 13,000.

He says overcrowding and low staffing levels create dangerous situations for prison officers. He says it also makes it difficult to retain employees, control contraband and offer rehabilitation and education services to inmates.

Last year, legislators approved a prison reform bill that made sentencing and other changes to reduce overcrowding. But the impact of that legislation won't be seen for several months.

Lawmakers are questioning state agency heads about their needs as they begin work on the general fund budget for next fiscal year.

The Alabama Crimson Tide football team is back in Tuscaloosa after winning the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Alabama defeated Clemson 45-to-40 in Glendale, Arizona to win the program’s 16th National Title and four in seven years under Coach Nick Saban.

Last night’s win brings Saban to a total of five national college football championships overall. That’s one shy of equaling the record of Alabama’s legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. But Saban says he's not worried about where he stands in history.

“As long as you do this, it's always about your next play. It's always about the next game. So I've never really ever thought too much about all that. I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for all the players who have played for us, came to our school, bought into our program, did the things that they needed to do to have a chance to experience a championship.”

With the victory, every class that Saban has recruited to Alabama has won at least one National Championship. This year’s is the first for the Crimson Tide since 2012.