Workers at Mercedes Benz plant in Alabama call union election, UAW says – 04/06/2024 at 00:45

Workers at Mercedes Benz plant in Alabama call union election, UAW says – 04/06/2024 at 00:45

(Automatic translation by Reuters, please see disclaimer

(Mercedes-Benz comments added on response to NLRB case, paragraphs 3-5) by Nora Eckert and David Shepardson

Workers at the Mercedes Benz MBGn.DE plant in Vance, Alabama, have filed a petition with U.S. regulators to hold an election to join the United Auto Workers, the union said Friday.

The SUV plant is the second to file for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in recent weeks. Reuters previously reported that Mercedes workers in Alabama would file an election petition with the NLRB earlier this week.

The NLRB said it plans to hear the case on April 15, unless the parties agree on an election schedule.

The UAW said a “substantial number” of the 5,200 eligible Mercedes workers at the plant and a nearby plant in Woodstock, Alabama, have signed union membership cards. The UAW hopes the vote will take place in early May.

A Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman said the automaker respects workers’ rights “to choose to unionize or not and we look forward to participating in the election process to ensure” that workers have the information they need to make the right choice.

The election comes after months of unionization efforts at more than a dozen non-union companies owned by foreign companies such as Hyundai Motor 005380.KS and Toyota Motor.

7203.T , along with electric car makers such as Tesla TSLA.O and Rivian RIVN.O .

After securing record contracts for the Detroit Three – General Motors GM.N, Ford FN and Stellantis

STLAM.MI – UAW President Shawn Fain has pledged to achieve a goal the union group has repeatedly failed to achieve in recent decades: welcoming a new automaker into its union ranks.

The UAW’s latest effort comes as it has an ally in the White House. President Joe Biden, who last joined the UAW group in Michigan – a key state for this fall’s election – has supported the UAW’s efforts to unionize non-union companies.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, workers at the Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE plant were the first to call for a UAW vote, which is expected to be completed by April 19. UAW organizers have lost votes at the plant twice, falling short in 2014 and 2019. Trials also have failed in plants owned by the Japanese car manufacturer Nissan 7201.T.

Union officials have alleged in filings with federal regulators that some automakers are retaliating against workers or blocking their attempts to unionize. On Wednesday, a group of workers filed a lawsuit against Mercedes for violating Germany’s new Supply Chain Practices Act, which prohibits German companies from ignoring workers’ rights to form unions.

The company responded to some of the union’s accusations by saying they were incorrect. It also said it recognizes the right of its workers to unionize.