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UAW files more unfair labor practice charges against Mercedes

One week before the union election, the UAW filed additional charges against Mercedes with the National Labor Relations Board.

Antonio Langham, pro-UAW Mercedes employees, and representatives of More Perfect Union and the Poor People's Campaign deliver speeches at a pro-union rally. CHANCE PHILLIPS/APR
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On May 6, the United Auto Workers filed two more unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

The UAW accused Mercedes-Benz of having utilized coercive statements and coercive rules in order to prevent workers from exercising their right to a free and open union election, and of laying off and refusing to hire pro-union employees.

One set of charges are under section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, which makes it an unfair labor practice “to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed” by the NLRA.

Another charge is under section 8(a)(3) of the NLRA, which states that it is an unfair labor practice to “encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization” through changing “any term or condition of employment,” including laying off or otherwise disciplining employees.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, one of UAW President Shawn Fain’s strategists, Chris Brooks, listed that Mercedes had engaged in retaliation for union activity, captive audience meetings, including meetings with “paid union busters,” and promises to make working conditions better.

On May 9, the UAW also posted pictures of a sign posted at the Mercedes plant with a caption asking “Is Mercedes really ‘neutral’ in this union vote?”

The side of the sign facing out from the plant reads “Your Vote Matters” with an illustration of a ballot box labeled “Vote.”  The ballot box on the side of the sign facing toward the plant is labeled “Vote No,” as is the ballot illustrated being dropped into the ballot box.

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These new charges follow a previous charge filed on March 26, where the UAW accused Mercedes of violating the National Labor Relations Act by firing several employees in retaliation for openly supporting the union. That case is still open.

In response to the previous charge, a Mercedes-Benz spokesman said “We do not believe these claims have merit and we look forward to presenting our case to the NLRB.”

In addition to the charges filed with the NLRB, in April the UAW filed charges against Mercedes with the German government for allegedly violating the country’s Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains.

According to Bloomberg, the United States government also recently spoke to representatives of the German government about the UAW’s allegations of Mercedes union-busting. The European Commission has reportedly told Mercedes that they “expect them to respect both local laws and European Values” as the unionization campaign continues.

Neither Mercedes nor the United Auto Workers have released a public statement on the May 6 charges yet. This piece will be updated as they do.

Chance Phillips is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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