Mercedes-Benz Alabama Plant Workers to Vote on Unionization

The plant will be the second non-unionized facility to vote on whether or not to join the UAW.


Thousands of Mercedes-Benz workers at the Vance, AL, plant are poised to decide on union representation in an upcoming vote scheduled for May 13-17.

“Workers at our plant are ready for this moment,” said Jeremy Kimbrell, a worker at the plant. “We are ready to vote yes because we are ready to win our fair share. We are going to end the Alabama discount and replace it with what our state actually needs. Workers sticking together and sticking by our community.”

The election, overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, will be the second such election at a non-unionized plant; workers at Volkswagen's facility in Chattanooga, TN, are voting April 17-19 on whether or not to join the UAW.

"The time is now," said Latesha Henry, another worker at the Mercedes-Benz plant. "It’s time to regain family work life balance and make history at Mercedes. I want this to be a job that generation after generation would be proud to have."

The unionization drive is part of a larger trend across the South, where nearly 10,000 autoworkers might choose to join the UAW within a single month. This wave includes ongoing public campaigns and union card signings at other major manufacturers such as Hyundai in Montgomery, AL, and Toyota in Troy, MO.

“We’re tired of Mercedes executives rolling things back,” said Billy Guyton, who also works at the Mercedes-Benz plant. “We’re going to roll our union forward.”

On April 16 -- the day before the election was set to begin at the Volkswagen plant -- six Republican governors from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas publicly condemned the UAW's efforts to unionize auto plants in their states, arguing the UAW's presence could disrupt their local economies and align too closely with political interests, particularly noting the union's support for President Joe Biden's reelection.

"As governors, we have a responsibility to our constituents to speak up when we see special interests looking to come into our state and threaten our jobs and the values we live by," the statement said.

The elections come as UAW President Shawn Fain was recognized as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2024, for his impact on labor rights.

Fain, who has risen to prominence during strikes against major auto manufacturers, joins other honorees such as Dua Lipa and Patrick Mahomes in the "Innovators" category. Biden, who provided the citation for Fain in Time, praised his steadfast approach, emphasizing the unprecedented wage increases gained in fall 2023 in the Stand Up Strike against Ford, GM and Stellantis.

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