Workers in Two Mercedes Plants Voting Whether to Unionize

Workers from two Alabama Mercedes-Benz plants last Friday voted down a proposal to join the United Auto Workers union.

In April, plant workers filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a vote to join the UAW.

However, in a decisive vote on Friday, 56 percent of the employees from the battery and assembly plants in Vance, Alabama rejected the union. According to the National Labor Relations Board, the final vote tally was 2,642 against and 2,045 in favor, with 93 percent of eligible workers casting a ballot.

UAW President Shawn Fain vowed that the union would continue the effort to organize the 150,000 Mercedes workers in the more than one dozen US factories nationwide.

Fain assured Mercedes workers that the UAW would not give up and warned the automaker that the union’s fight was not over. Fain expected that the union would achieve “a different result down the road.”

The National Labor Relations Board, which oversaw last Friday’s votes, gave both sides five business days to object to the vote. The UAW must then wait a year before it can seek another vote at the Mercedes’ plants.

Fain accused Mercedes of “egregious illegal behavior” and said any challenge to the vote would be up to the UAW’s attorneys.

The UAW already filed complaints against Mercedes for unfair labor practices, claiming that the company employed anti-union consultants who, along with the plant management, attempted to intimidate plant workers.

Mercedes denied the claim.

The failed vote marks a setback for the UAW after last month’s successful vote at the Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkwagon assembly plant.

Fain said the difference between the victory in Chattanooga and the defeat in Alabama was that Mercedes, unlike Volkswagon, did not remain neutral. He said the German car manufacturer actively campaigned against the UAW by holding forced meetings with workers to lobby against the union.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey celebrated the UAW’s defeat in Alabama, saying in a thread on X that her state was not Michigan and would not be “the Sweet Home” to the UAW.

Ivey described automotive manufacturing as one of the state’s “crown jewel industries” and said Alamaba was “committed to keeping it that way.”