Auto workers petition to block UAW, 2015 red snapper season and Cycling League state championship

May 4, 2015

Renosol Seating in Selma, Ala.

Workers at a Selma auto parts manufacturer have signed a petition asking the United Auto Workers union to leave them alone.

Nearly 80 percent of employees at the Lear Corporation-owned Renosol Seating plant signed a petition asking the UAW to stop investigating a nearly year-long dispute.

Last May, a public relations firm representing the workers said about three-quarters of the plant's 90 employees had respiratory problems associated with a chemical used during manufacturing. Federal regulators found air quality at the plant to be within federal guidelines, but a Yale University blood test confirmed some of the workers had been exposed to toluene disocyanate, also known as TDI, a hazardous chemical used to make the foam in car seats.

Lear says some workers are engaging in baseless scare tactics orchestrated by the union.

The United Auto Workers union is accusing the plant's management of using illegal tactics to coerce their employees into signing the petition.

Charter fishermen in Alabama are gearing up for a longer than usual red snapper season.

Thanks to a recent decision from NOAA’s Fisheries Division, recreational fishermen and commercial charter fishermen have separate seasons this year. Private anglers will only be allowed to fish in federal waters for ten days starting June 1. Charter captains' season will run 44 days, from June 1 to mid-July. Last year, both groups were lumped together for a nine day season.

Tom Ard is with the Charter Fisherman's Association. He says the big gap between the commercial and recreational seasons comes down to differing laws policing state waters.

“For instance, Florida will have a 70 day red snapper season this year. Louisiana will have a 270 day red snapper season this year. Texas is 365 days a year. So what that does is, it takes fish out of the total liable catch, your quota.”

Those state seasons are only open for private fishermen. Commercial fishermen with federal licenses can't fish state waters once the federal fishery is closed.

Sunday marked the close of the first season of the Alabama High School Cycling League. 260 high school students competed throughout the season in races across the state. Eddie Freyer is the league director. He says an athlete’s class determines how long their race will be.

“The races are a mountain bike race, a course that we’ve laid out, typically our courses are four and a half to six miles in length per lap and depending on the category that the kids are racing in, whether its freshman, sophomore, JV or varsity they could do anywhere from one to four laps on that course.”

Freyer says the establishment of Alabama's High School Cycling League is important because the League of American Bicyclists ranked Alabama dead last at number fifty on its list of bicycle-friendly states this year.

The state championship race was held at Munny Sokol Park in Northport.