Mercedes-Benz workers in Alabama vote not to join to auto workers union

The workers in Vance, Alabama, rejected the motion to join UAW in a 2,642 to 2,045 vote, according to the National Labor Relations Board.

Published: May 17, 2024 7:45pm

Mercedes-Benz autoworkers at a plant in Alabama chose not to unionize in a vote Friday, slowing the United Auto Workers's (UAW) plan to expand its influence into the South. 

The victory for Mercedes-Benz comes after six governors, including Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, warned autoworkers that voting to unionize would put their jobs in jeopardy. Despite the warning, thousands of autoworkers in Tennessee decided to unionize with UAW last month. UAW led major strikes against automakers in Detroit last year, which resulted in a 25% pay raise for all autoworkers by 2028. 

The workers in Vance, Alabama, rejected the motion to join UAW in a 2,642 to 2,045 vote, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reported, according to The Hill.

“Our goal throughout this process was to ensure every eligible Team Member had the opportunity to participate in a fair election,” Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) said in a statement shared with the outlet. "We thank all Team Members who asked questions, engaged in discussions, and ultimately, made their voices heard on this important issue.”

The union has a week to challenge the results of the vote, which comes as the union accuses Mercedes of intimidating workers in the lead-up to the contest, which violates U.S. labor law.

UAW President Shawn Fain, who orchestrated the major deal last year, said he was undeterred following Alabama's vote.

“Sometimes Goliath wins a battle, but ultimately David will win the war,” Fain said in a press conference. “These workers will win their fair share, and we’re going to be there every step of the way. We’ve been here before, we know what we’re taking on and this company like most others operates off [of] the same playbook, fear, threats, intimidation.” 

UAW said in April that it was hoping to expand to a dozen more plants in the South, which affects approximately 150,000 workers. 

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