Economy

After decisive loss at Alabama Mercedes plants, powerful auto union vows to return and win

Newly elected UAW President Shawn Fain said the union will return to Mercedes and will press on with efforts to organize about 150,000 workers at more than a dozen auto factories across the nation.

Workers at Alabama’s Mercedes plants vote against joining a union

The workers voted 56% against the union, according to tallies released by the National Labor Relations Board, which ran the election.

The United Auto Workers faces a key test in the South with upcoming vote at Alabama Mercedes plant

The United Auto Workers is aiming for a key victory at Mercedes-Benz in Alabama. More than 5,000 workers at the facility in Vance and nearby battery plant will vote this week on whether to join the UAW.

Alabama to begin working with a consulting company that’s under criminal investigation 

McKinsey & Company, an international consulting business, will help the state of Alabama develop a new strategic economic growth plan. The company is undertaking that project, while also dealing with a probe into whether it engaged in a criminal conspiracy.

A New Orleans garden paid hundreds of dollars in fees for a sewer that doesn’t exist

Galvez Garden owner Lissie Stewart has been fighting the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board over inaccurate billing for years.

How food stamps could play a key role in fixing Jackson’s broken water system

JXN Water's affordability plan aims to raise much-needed revenue while offering discounts to customers in need, but it is currently tied up in court.

54% of support comes from members

Crawfish prices are finally dropping, but farmers and fishers are still struggling

Last year’s devastating drought in Louisiana killed off large crops of crawfish, leading to a tough season for farmers, fishers and seafood lovers.

Q&A: A bad deal made Jackson’s water problems worse. It wasn’t the only Mississippi city harmed

Reporter Sarah Fowler talks about her investigation that found at least eight Mississippi cities were harmed by deals over faulty smart water meters.

A ‘gassy’ Alabama coal mine was expanding under a home. After an explosion, two were left critically injured

Oak Grove Mine has a long history of safety violations. In 2006, federal officials evacuated its workers because of dangerous levels of methane, a flammable gas.

Some Jackson residents still face water billing issues despite new systems in place

In trying to rectify decades of billing chaos and draw new revenue, another issue has emerged for JXN Water: How much should customers be on the hook for?

What architects learned from 30 years of building affordable homes in Alabama’s Black Belt

Auburn University’s Rural Studio is sharing its wealth of knowledge with partners in a half dozen states to help solve rural homelessness.

4 factors besides cold weather that explain expensive winter power bills

Like many in the Gulf South, Will Burt’s power bill spiked in January due to extreme weather. But how much of the increase can be attributed to the cold?

How Birmingham reflects an entwined struggle for civil and labor rights

Movements for civil rights and workers' rights often intersect. But many times the labor part of the picture is overlooked. That’s the case in Birmingham, which is well known for its civil rights history.

The Gulf South’s rejection of the Summer EBT program puts further strain on child hunger issues

Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama have opted out of the USDA’s Summer EBT program, but advocates say the need is far greater than one program.

Jackson estimated his water bill and overcharged him by thousands. He fought back and won

When James Henley suspected his water bill was inaccurate, he put his spreadsheet skills to use and got back $3,208. Now, he’s helping others do the same.

How an Alabama utility wields influence by financing news

A Floodlight investigation found Alabama Power runs a news service and its foundation bought a Black newspaper. Neither publishes critical stories about the utility.

Mercedes-Benz autoworkers in Alabama want to join the UAW. Here’s what the past could teach them

Amid a new push in a region that’s historically unwelcoming to unionization, author Stephen Silvia details what the UAW could learn from its past efforts.

Inflation is slowing, unless you’re ‘makin’ groceries’ for New Orleans gumbo. Here’s why

With a variety of ingredients from across the region, making a pot of gumbo can illustrate a lot of the ways inflation impacts the average grocery shopper.

This New Orleans restaurant made it through the pandemic. Can it survive water billing issues?

Plume Algiers is a mom-and-pop Indian restaurant that overcame every obstacle to open in New Orleans. Now, water billing issues could put them out of business.

Despite strong economic signs, food pantry lines are still growing in the Gulf South

The U.S. economy had a strong year, but more people found themselves in line at their local food pantry due to inflation and a weakened social safety net.

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54% of support comes from members

She owed $7K due to a water leak. Her utility saw the signs but didn’t tell her

Birmingham Water Works flagged Claire Ahalt’s account for unusually high water use, but she did not find out until asking a utility worker weeks later.

Vincent coffee shop becomes community hub

Alicia’s Coffee in Vincent, Alabama, about 45 minutes southeast of Birmingham. The store is the site of WBHM’s latest News and Brews community pop-up Friday, Nov. 17. The story of Alicia’s Coffee is one of entrepreneurship and a little serendipity. 

The Gulf South looks to ‘charge up’ its economy with electric vehicles

While some believe electric vehicles could lead to a southern manufacturing renaissance, workers and experts caution that it must be done carefully.

The Gulf South’s record heat brought another pain for residents — higher power bills

This summer’s high temperatures also brought higher utility bills. The spike caused some, like Christopher Bogan, to make tough choices with their budget.

She looked for help after her power bill doubled. But aid for utilities often falls short

Dolabriel Curry-Hurst’s January power bill in Alabama jumped above $700 — more than twice of what she owed the previous year.

Gulf South’s ‘Hot Labor Summer’ is heating up heading into the fall

The seven strikes in the region signify a slow-growing labor movement that gained momentum in 2021.

An Alabama family’s water bill tripled after moving just outside of city limits. Here’s why

Rural water customers typically pay more for the same water that city residents use. Some residents, like Jason Clayton, believe the upcharge is unfair.

WATCH: A discussion on what’s behind the spread of dollar stores with the Gulf States Newsroom

Watch a replay of the Gulf States Newsroom's virtual listening session and discussion on Stephan Bisaha's series on The Dollar Store Takeover.

The Dollar Store Takeover: A Virtual Listening Session and Conversation

The Gulf States Newsroom will host a listening session and conversation on Stephan Bisaha's four-part audio series examining the spread of dollar stores.

She thought one call would fix her power bill. A year later, she’s still not satisfied

Power bill disputes usually sway in the utility company's favor. But as this New Orleans renter's story shows, there are ways customers can get answers.

Increasing popularity of Alabama’s Pinhoti Trail sparks economic opportunity

A growing number of hikers are tackling Alabama's longest continuous footpath and trail communities are welcoming the growth.

With ‘dollar stores in every direction,’ some communities are saying enough

Dollar General opens about three locations a day. Advocates against the rapid expansion released a four-step guide for keeping stores from opening.