Mercedes-Benz Alabama Workers Petition to Hold Vote to Join UAW

Employees hope to hold the vote on unionization in May.

Mercedes-Benz released this file photo of workers at the Alabama facility beginning production of the EQS SUV in August 2022.

A supermajority of employees – more than 5,000 -- at Mercedes-Benz’s plant in Alabama have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a union election to join the UAW -- the second significant push in the South for union representation in less than three weeks, closely following Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga, TN, who will get to hold their vote April 17-19.

In a statement April 5, Jeremy Kimbrell, a measurement machine operator at Mercedes, said, “We are standing up for every worker in Alabama. 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.”

“We are voting for safer jobs at Mercedes,” said Moesha Chandler, an assembly team member at Mercedes. “I’m still young, but I’m already having serious problems with my shoulders and hands. When you’re still in your 20s 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.”

Despite Mercedes management's anti-union efforts, the workers' resolve appears unshaken. With a supermajority already expressing support through signed union cards, the focus now shifts to the upcoming vote, potentially set for early May by the NLRB.

The UAW has not only taken legal action against Mercedes for alleged union-busting tactics but has also extended its reach to a German court, accusing the automaker of labor violations with potentially severe financial consequences.

“We’re going to make Mercedes better with this vote,” said Jacob Ryan, a KVP team member at Mercedes. “Right now, the company keeps losing good people because they force them to work Saturdays at the last second, to take shifts that mess with their family lives. And the only choice people have is to take it or quit. With the union, we’ll have a voice for fair schedules that keep workers at Mercedes.”

The Mercedes workers are part of the national movement of non-union autoworkers organizing to join the UAW in the wake of the historic Stand Up Strike victory at the Big Three auto companies. More than 10,000 non-union autoworkers have signed union cards in recent months, with public campaigns launched at Mercedes, Volkswagen, Hyundai in Montgomery, AL, and Toyota in Troy, MO. Workers at over two dozen other facilities are also actively organizing.

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