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Mercedes-Benz workers at Alabama plant set to file petition for UAW membership

The NLRB will receive documents from workers at the SUV facility in Vance, Alabama, requesting a formal election to join the UAW.

As early as this week, factory workers at Mercedes-Benz’s Alabama assembly plant want to file a petition to become United Auto Workers (UAW) members, according to a union leader who made the announcement on Tuesday, April 2.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will receive documents from workers at the SUV facility in Vance, Alabama, requesting a formal election to join the UAW. However, it’s unclear when the actual vote will take place.

Tim Smith, the union’s Region 8 Director, reported two weeks ago that he visited Mercedes workers in Alabama with UAW President Shawn Fain to discuss their preparations for this week’s petition drive for a union election.

“We’re proud of them, and they’re going to win, too,” Smith declared at the beginning of his contract discussions with Daimler Truck at a rally in North Carolina.

Moreover, as of late February, the UAW has claimed that most of the plant’s 6,000 employees have already signed cards to become union members. However, the company has stated that it prefers to keep communication channels open with its staff members and has always competitively compensated its team members while providing additional benefits.

A vote at Mercedes would come after a similar campaign at the Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant. While the UAW has brought multiple accusations of unfair labor practices against Mercedes, the NLRB has not yet received a petition for an election at the Alabama plant. 

Fain is spearheading an unparalleled organizing drive for the 88-year-old UAW, aiming to unionize over a dozen automakers nationwide, including Tesla. After striking new labor agreements with the Detroit Three automakers—General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler parent Stellantis—last fall, Fain hopes to succeed in organizing U.S. factories controlled by Volkswagen and Nissan, where the union has failed multiple times in the past 20 years to do so. 

In November, Fain stated that when they return to bargaining in 2028, they would negotiate not only with the Big Three but also with the Big Five or Big Six. The union has made two unsuccessful attempts to organize the Tennessee Volkswagen plant in the past. Sources suggest that efforts to organize nonunion sites will likely pick up speed if the union wins early ballots. The UAW’s membership declined from a peak of 1.5 million in the 1970s to 370,000 members last year – the lowest number since 2009. If the union had been successfully organized outside of Detroit, it would have reversed these losses.

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Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. She is a recent honors cum laude graduate with a BFA in Mass Media from Valdosta State University. Jaelyn is an enthusiastic creator with more than four years of experience in corporate communications, editing, broadcasting, and writing. Her articles in The Spectator, her hometown newspaper, changed how people perceive virtual reality. She connects her readers to the facts while providing them a voice to understand the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the digital world.

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