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Mercedes workers at an Alabama plant call for union representation vote

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April 8, 2024
By The Associated Press

A majority of workers at a Mercedes-Benz plant near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, are calling for a vote to join the United Auto Workers union, which is on a drive to sign up non-union plants across the country.

According to a Friday announcement from the UAW, the Mercedes workers have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for the vote.

Their call for a union election arrives just weeks after workers at a Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, set a date to vote for UAW representation.

The Mercedes plant in Vance, Alabama, had a total of about 6,100 employees as of the end of 2023. More than 5,000 are calling for the union vote, UAW said Friday.


“We are voting for safer jobs at Mercedes,” Moesha Chandler, an assembly team member at Mercedes, said in a statement shared in union’s announcement. “When you’re still in your twenties and your body is breaking down, that’s not right. By winning our union, we’ll have the power to make the work safer and more sustainable.”

No date for the plant’s union vote has been set yet, but the UAW said the Mercedes workers hope to vote by early May.

In response to the workers’ petition, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International stated that it “fully respects our Team Members’ choice (on) whether to unionize.” The company added that it plans to ensure all workers have a chance to cast their own secret-ballot vote and have access to “the information necessary to make an informed choice” during the election process.

The UAW has accused Mercedes management of anti-union tactics in recent weeks. The union filed federal labor charges against the automaker for union busting last month, as well as charges in a German court for labor violations earlier this week.

The Alabama plant’s workers calling for UAW representation first signed cards in support of joining the union in February.

The UAW announced its organizing campaign last fall after it won strong contracts with Detroit’s Big Three. The union said it would simultaneously target more than a dozen nonunion auto plants — including those run by Tesla, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Honda, and others.

More than 10,000 non-union autoworkers have signed union cards over recent months, the UAW said Friday. Beyond the Mercedes and Volkswagen plants, the union pointed to public campaigns seen at Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama and Toyota in Troy, Missouri.

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