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UAW loses vote to consolidate Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama

UAW loses vote to consolidate Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union lost the vote to consolidate a Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Alabama, according to interim data released Friday by the organization.

About 56% of workers at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, the German manufacturer’s only U.S. plant, who voted (about 2,642 people) rejected unionization while 44% (2,045 people) voted in favor.

Voting began on May 17 and ended on Friday.

It is the first major defeat for the UAW since Sean Fine was appointed president of the organization in early 2023.

Read: Mercedes-Benz employees in the US will vote on joining the UAW

At the end of 2023, the UAW signed new collective agreements with GM, Ford and Stellantis that guarantee 25% salary increases for workers at the three companies, spread over the next four years, in addition to other labor improvements.

After signing the collective agreements, Fine announced that his efforts would focus on forming labor unions at other automakers in the country, especially in the south of the country, whose conservative governments strongly oppose unionization.

On April 19, the UAW won a historic victory when a majority of workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted to join the UAW.

The vote in Chattanooga was the first time in history that workers at an auto assembly plant located in the southern United States (traditionally more anti-union), and not owned by the big three American manufacturers (General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis), agreed to join the UAW.

The UAW has on several occasions denounced pressure and maneuvers by the Mercedes-Benz group to prevent Tuscaloosa workers from joining the union.

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On May 16, the UAW revealed that German authorities had launched an investigation against the manufacturer for its “illegal anti-union conduct” at the Tuscaloosa plant.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey also publicly opposed the factory union and, along with several Southern governors, issued a statement saying jobs were at risk if workers joined the union.

With information from EFE

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