Union blues. A multiyear effort by the United Auto Workers (UAW) to unionize the country’s only Volkswagen plant, in Chattanooga, Tenn., failed Friday evening in a narrow-margin vote. Interestingly, Volkswagen did not oppose the union’s entry to its plant. Union-style workers’ councils are common in Germany, where the company is based. Strong anti-union sentiments in the South, combined with lobbying by Republican lawmakers, contributed to the union’s downfall. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Gov. Bill Haslam made public statements before the vote implying that bringing the UAW to the plant would hurt the state’s job growth. State lawmakers threatened to torpedo state incentives if the UAW won.
Europe’s most wanted. An Ethiopian Airlines co-pilot en route from Addis Ababa to Rome locked the captain out of the cockpit and flew the plane to Switzerland this morning. The co-pilot-turned-hijacker waited until the pilot went to the bathroom to take over the controls, according to Swiss officials. He threatened to crash the plane when the captain tried to forcibly re-enter the cockpit. The plane safely landed in Geneva, where the co-pilot was arrested. The hijacker reportedly was seeking asylum in Switzerland, though it’s unclear why. Now he’s facing a potentially long jail sentence.
Deadly sermon. A snake-handling pastor who appeared on the National Geographic television reality show Snake Salvation died this weekend after being bitten by a snake during a church service in Kentucky. Jamie Coots refused medical treatment and died at home just a few hours after being bitten. To justify his practices, the pastor often referred to Mark 16, which reads, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
The future is now. At last, someone is fulfilling the futuristic predictions made in 1989’s iconic Back to the Future II. A Nike designer has confirmed that the company will release the self-tying sneakers worn by Marty McFly. The shoes will be available in 2015, the same year to which McFly traveled in the movie. Unfortunately, no company has set a release date for hover boards.
No assembly required. Adorable is winning the winter box-office race. The Lego Movie was tops in ticket sales for the second-straight weekend, earning another $50 million and set a record for a President’s Day weekend. The Lego Movie bested new releases About Last Night, Robo Cop, Endless Love, and Winter’s Tale. Critics say The Lego Movie’s success comes from its all-ages appeal. Parents who grew up playing with Legos love the movie as much as their kids.