South braces for more severe weather. Labor activists hope to unionize first Amazon facility in US. Israel: Five shot dead in latest outbreak of violence.
South braces for more severe weather
Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama will receive the brunt of a severe weather system moving across the Southeast today. A tornado in Arkansas has already injured multiple people. All of North Mississippi is under a tornado watch until 8pm tonight.
The entire state of Mississippi is also under a high wind warning until 7pm local time tonight. This could bring winds in excess of 50mph and there’s a possibility of severe weather overnight as well. There is also a danger of tornados, flash flooding, hail and other destructive phenomena as the system moves through North Mississippi. Heavy rain is also expected in the evening.
Will activists succeed in unionizing first ever Amazon facility in US?
Today is the last day for workers at an Amazon facility in Staten Island, NY, to vote on whether to form a union. A former worker at the facility, Christian Smalls, has been spearheading the effort. Smalls was fired from the facility in 2020 after leading a walkout protesting poor health and safety conditions at the warehouse.
Smalls later began the Amazon Labor Union campaign to unionize his former workplace, Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse. Voting for the measure to establish an independent union, with no national affiliation, began last week and ends today.
Just as in the case of a previous unsuccessful union vote at one of its facilities in Bessemer, AL, last year, Amazon’s brass came out in force to crush the movement. Amazon management has held mandatory “information sessions” to dissuade employees from voting for the union, and sent out text messages to current and former employees. In the Bessemer case, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Amazon had gone to far in its intimidation campaign and will allow employees at that warehouse to hold another vote.
In addition to growing disgruntlement among its warehouse employees, Amazon is facing a new labor challenge from the new head of the Teamsters Union, Sean O’Brien. The Teamsters, founded by controversial labor activist Jimmy Hoffa, have accused Amazon of exploitative labor practices imposed on drivers and truckers represented by the union.
Israel: Five fatally shot in latest outbreak of violence
Israel has suffered an uptick in violent incidents in recent days. The most recent attack took place last night. A young Arab man from the West Bank fatally shot three Israelis and two Ukrainian workmen in Bnei Brak, a suburb of Tel Aviv. Police killed the gunman at the scene. This is the third deadly attack in just over two weeks. The first took place on Mar. 22 in the city of Beersheba. A lone attacker rammed his car into a cyclist before fatally stabbing three bystanders. Then on the 27th, two Arab-Israeli gunmen opened fire on a bus stop in Hadera, killing two and injuring 12.
Authorities believe that the assailants in all three of these attacks had connections with ISIS or at least were sympathetic to ISIS. ISIS attacks within Israel itself are rare. Radicalization among Israeli Arabs (who, unlike Palestinians, are Israeli citizens) is also a relatively new and growing phenomenon. This seems to have arisen from hardening ethnic and religious tensions on all sides.
Recently, the Israeli Parliament voted to deny Israeli citizenship to Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs. That means that these couples will either have to move to the West Bank or Gaza, or live separately. Israel’s government is also accelerating its displacement of Palestinians and Arabs by building illegal Jewish settlements in Palestinian land, and even seizing the property of Israeli Arabs to house Jewish immigrants.
Next month, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Jewish Passover, and Christian Easter will coincide, a very rare occurrence. Authorities fear this will bring more violence in the weeks to come.
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