Daimler's works council chief and deputy chairman Michael Brecht will take a trip to the carmaker’s Vance assembly site in Alabama to meet with the United Auto Workers to explore possibilities for improving worker representation at the plant.
Daimler’s Vance facility - which build vehicles for Mercedes-Benz - currently has no formal union representation and has become a target of a membership push by the UAW, which is looking to beef up its declining membership by focusing on foreign-owned plants in the US south. A spokeswoman for Daimler remarked that Brecht is convinced that its employees need to have their interests represented by “having their voice heard.”
She remarked that along with German union IG Metall, Brecht will evaluate how the UAW can be supported in its representation efforts. In June, the UAW disclosed it was working on a plan to organize workers at Daimler’s Vance plant. The UAW has seen its membership drop by around 40 percent in the past decade to around 390,000.
The union said in August that had almost enough members at a Volkswagen’s Chattanooga facility in Tennessee to compel the German carmaker to recognize it as exclusive bargaining agent for the plant.
It is typical for large German corporations like Daimler to have labor representatives occupying half the seats on the supervisory board – which means they have enough power influence management board appointments and major decisions.
Gary Casteel, the UAW's secretary-treasurer and Brecht's deputy on Daimler's World Employee Committee, told Reuters he is looking forward to a close relationship with the carmaker’s deputy chairman as the union tries to gain support for its bid to unionize the Alabama plant.