Mercedes-Benz Workers In Alabama Face Anti-Union Pressure Amid UAW Vote

Zinger Key Points
  • Workers at a Mercedes Benz plant in Alabama are facing anti-union pressures ahead of a vote to join the UAW
  • The UAW hopes unionizing the plant can help bring more unions to southern states

Over 5,000 workers at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama began voting on whether to join the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. This comes amidst a strong anti-union campaign.

What Happened: Per NPR, the voting process kick-started on Monday. Workers at the Tuscaloosa plant have been exposed to anti-union videos and private meetings with lawyers, designed to discourage them from voting for the union.

“The entire message in those meetings is Vote no, vote no, vote no. We don’t think you need to do this. This is not what you want,” revealed David Johnston, a worker at the Mercedes battery plant, according to NPR. 

Alabama politicians have also expressed opposition to the unionization, fearing it could damage the state’s pro-business, anti-union image. Alabama House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter referred to the UAW as “a dangerous leech.”

Ellen McNair, Alabama’s Commerce Secretary, cautioned that unionizing could lead to job losses and discourage investment in the state. This union election, the first at Mercedes in Alabama, follows several unsuccessful attempts to unionize over the years.

The voting window for Mercedes workers closes on Friday morning. The UAW’s efforts to unionize at Mercedes-Benz follows strikes last year at major U.S. auto manufacturers Ford Motor Co F, General Motors GM and Chrysler parent company Stellantis STLA.

See Also: Tesla CEO Elon Musk Draws Parallel Between Netflix’s Decision To Focus On Streaming Over Renting DVDs To

Why It Matters: The UAW took significant steps to unionize the auto industry in the southern U.S. The Mercedes-Benz plants in Vance and Woodstock, Alabama are key efforts.

This comes on the heels of their historic union election victory at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The UAW’s recent win at Volkswagen was one of the most substantial union election wins in the past 16 years. The union represents about 4,300 workers there.

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Benzinga editors partially produced this content with the help of AI tools prior to publishing.

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