UAW seeks to represent workers at Mercedes-Benz Vance site in Alabama

Article by Anita Panait, on February 18, 2014

The United Auto Workers union is seeking to represent workers at Mercedes-Benz’s Vance site in Alabama by embarking on a path similar to the one it took for Volkswagen’s employees in Tennessee.  The UAW has been collaborating with German union IG Metall and the Daimler works council to build support for the US union among Mercedes workers in the Vance site, according to the union and Alabama workers opposed to the UAW.

Since 2011, the UAW have made progress with IG Metall officials going on house calls on Alabama workers and the collecting of signed cards supporting the American union. The union also has supportive Mercedes workers handing out fliers in the site.

In January, the UAW quoted an employee saying the union has never had greater support in the site. A similar approach was employed to representing VW's hourly workers in Chattanooga, Tenn. The union's efforts at the VW plant were supported at different times by leaders at IG Metall and VW's works council.

Should the UAW win the vote in Tennessee, it is expected by industry observers and analysts for the next focus to be on Mercedes’ Alabama site. UAW President Bob King has remarked that organizing the American site of foreign carmakers is critical to the union's future.

Daimler executives have been saying that any decision regarding union representation at the Alabama site is up to the workers.

Daimler reiterated in a recent statement that it will remain neutral but added, "We believe the culture we have established (in Alabama) is our best path forward for a successful future.”

In January, the UAW asked the US National Labor Relations Board to probe the Vance site, charging the Daimler with "interfering with, restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights," including threatening to dismiss them if they solicited for the UAW.

Topics: uaw, mercedes-benz

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