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UAW sets sights on Mercedes-Benz after Volkswagen victory

The UAW is confident in its ability to score another victory at Mercedes-Benz, despite concerns that union support may be lacking

Fueled by its success at Volkswagen, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union is turning its attention to Mercedes-Benz and other non-unionized automakers as it continues its post-strike campaign to expand membership.

Speaking to Reuters, UAW chief Shawn Fain acknowledged the significance of the union’s victory at Volkswagen’s Tennessee plant. Last week, workers at the factory, the only site owned by the German automaker to lack labor representation, voted overwhelmingly (73%) in favor of unionization. “The win Friday breathes a lot of life into the organizing campaign everywhere,” Fain remarked. “We’re moving as fast as we can.”

While the UAW said in March that it had secured majority support among the roughly 5,000 employees at Mercedes-Benz’s Alabama facility, analysts believe a second victory there will be an uphill battle. Although support for unionizing at Volkswagen grew rapidly and surpassed 70% well before last week’s vote, growth has appeared slower at Mercedes. 

Furthermore, while Volkswagen’s leadership did not organize a meaningful counter-campaign to the UAW in the days leading up to the vote, Mercedes-Benz has reportedly distributed anti-union messages among staff to weaken support for unionization.

Fain, however, dismissed concerns over the upcoming election, scheduled in May. “It’s all the same,” the UAW president explained. “Workers either want justice or they don’t.”

Yesterday, Tennesee governor Bill Lee called the UAW’s success at Volkswagen a “mistake.” In the days leading up to the vote, Lee and several other Southern governors urged residents to resist unionization in a jointly-issued statement, arguing that they would result in job cuts and deter businesses.

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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