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Mercedes-Benz Workers In Alabama Reject UAW Union Representation

Exterior view of the Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz workers in Alabama have voted against union representation by the United Auto Workers.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made the announcement “We fought the good fight and we’re going to continue on, continue forward.on Friday, May 17. 

This marks a major setback for the UAW, which had recently succeeded in unionizing about 4,330 Volkswagen workers in Tennessee.

The voting process, which began on Monday, May 13, and concluded on Friday, saw 56 percent of the 2,642 participating workers reject the UAW. 

This turnout represented over 90 percent of the 5,075 eligible Mercedes-Benz workers. 

Although 51 ballots were challenged and five were voided, according to the NLRB, these numbers were not sufficient to alter the outcome.

employer

The union and the company have five business days to file any objections regarding potential election interference. 

If no objections are lodged, the results will be certified, and the union must wait a year before attempting another election for a similar bargaining unit.

“We fought the good fight and we’re going to continue on, continue forward"

Mercedes-Benz said company officials “look forward to continuing to work directly with our Team Members to ensure [Mercedes-Benz US International] is not only their employer of choice, but a place they would recommend to friends and family.”

This defeat is a considerable blow to the UAW's broader campaign, which began late last year targeting 13 non-union automakers in the US. 

The union had recently secured lucrative contracts with Detroit's major automakers—Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis—featuring significant wage increases and other benefits.

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UAW President Shawn Fain phrased the vote as a "bump in the road" rather than a failure. 

He said: “While this loss stings, I’ll tell you this, we’re going to keep our heads up, keep our heads up high. 

“These workers have nothing to do but be proud in the effort they put forth and what they’ve done.

“We fought the good fight and we’re going to continue on, continue forward. Ultimately, these workers here are going to win.”

The Mercedes-Benz vote was expected to be challenging compared to the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee, where the UAW had a more established presence despite previous failed attempts. 

Since its opening in 1997, the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant, located about 60 miles southwest of Birmingham, has produced over 4 million vehicles, including 295,000 in 2023. 

The facility manufactures models such as the gas-powered GLE and GLS Maybach SUVs and the all-electric EQS and EQE SUVs.

The NLRB continues investigating several unfair labor practice charges filed by the UAW against Mercedes-Benz and other automakers. 

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