UAW Organizing Campaign Faces Set-Back as Mercedes-Benz Workers Vote Against Union Representation

Originally published in Labor Today

Workers at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama voted in their election regarding union representation during the week of May 13th-17th. The UAW shifted its sights to the unorganized workers in the South after its success stemming from the Stand Up Strike with Ford, GM, and Stellantis and have since seen tens of thousands of workers signing union authorization cards and pushing for elections in their plants. In late February, approximately two months after going public with their campaign to unionize, the Mercedes-Benz workers had a majority of signed union cards. Despite this, the workers voted against union representation.

The organizing drive took place amid a barrage of anti-union backlash. The workers faced an uphill battle as both Alabama politicians and Mercedes-Benz launch anti-union drives. In March, workers at the Vance, AL plant filed federal charges against Mercedes-Benz for their illegal union busting tactics including meetings where workers were required to watch anti-union videos as well as illegal terminations in retaliation for union activity.

During the meeting, I told management that it was suspicious that I was being called into the office on the same day that I spoke up in anti-union meeting. My manager said the two had nothing to do with one another, but then proceeded to aggressively interrogate me about why I support having a union.Taylor Snipes, Mercedes Battery Plant Worker

  • The final vote concluded with 2045 in favor and 2642 against, marking a defeat for the UAW.

The UAW will continue to lead the fight against corporate greed and runaway inequality. And through that fight we’ll change the nation and the world for the better. While this loss stings, these workers keep their heads held high. We fight the good fight and continue forward.            – Shawn Fain, President of UAW