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Mercedes Benz workers file for an election to join the UAW

“Working-class people have the power to change the world; that’s what you’re fighting for right now,” Fain said.


Mercedes Benz workers at the Vance facility have filed a petition to the National Labor Relations Board seeking a union election to join the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

The filing comes less than three months after the initial announcement by workers declaring their intention to join the UAW. 

A video coinciding with the election petition was released featuring UAW President Shawn Fain delivering an impassioned speech to Mercedes workers during a rally. Fain has spearheaded the organizing efforts of UAW as auto-industry workers across the country have begun attempting to join the union. 

“Working-class people have the power to change the world; that’s what you’re fighting for right now,” Fain said. “Work-life balance. Good healthcare that you can afford. A better life for your family, a better life for all of Alabama.”

These workers reject the premise that the UAW is merely an outside actor that would harm Alabama’s auto industry. On Thursday, Gov. Kay Ivey posted on X in response to an article about Alabama leading the nation in car exports. The post took aim at the UAW, calling the union a “threat” and saying it has no interest in Alabama’s success.

“It’s no wonder the UAW wants a piece of the pie here in Alabama,” Ivey posted. “And let’s be clear about something: This threat from Detroit has no interest in seeing the people of Alabama succeed, our OEMs succeed, and in turn, the state to succeed as we are now.”

However, workers have repeatedly stated they are tired of not being compensated adequately for their labor, often at the risk of personal injury, while companies like Mercedes reap record profits.

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“We are standing up for every worker in Alabama,” Jeremy Kimbrell, a Mercedes worker, said. “At Mercedes, at Hyundai, and at hundreds of other companies, Alabama workers have made billions of dollars for executives and shareholders, but we haven’t gotten our fair share. We’re going to turn things around with this vote. We’re going to end the Alabama discount.”

During this unionization campaign, workers have had to contend with Alabama’s leadership opposing unions but also with union-busting tactics from Mercedes. In March, workers filed a federal petition with the NLRB, seeking an injunction against Mercedes to force the company to stop its retaliatory practices.

Moesha Chandler, an assembly team member, said that workers would be voting for safer jobs at Mercedes.

“We are voting for safer jobs at Mercedes,” Chandler said. “I’m still young, but I’m already having serious problems with my shoulders and hands. When you’re still in your twenties and your body is breaking down, that’s not right. By winning our union, we’ll have the power to make the work safer and more sustainable.”

The workers hope to be voting in the election as soon as May after the NLRB sets a date.


Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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