May 21, 2024

Mercedes-Benz Workers in Alabama Facing Unionization Pressure

More than 5,000 Mercedes-Benz staff in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will vote on May 13 by way of 17 on whether or not to affix the United Auto Workers, and German activist unions are pressuring them to get on board.

The Alabama and South Carolina vegetation are the one Mercedes vegetation in the world to not be unionized, and IG Metall, the highly effective German labor union, is attempting to vary that—even when it means not taking part in honest.

“We encourage our colleagues in Tuscaloosa to make history by exercising their right to vote and voting to form a union,” said Ergun Lümali, union consultant at IG Metall and chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Works Council, a employee group that coordinates with the union. “We are closely monitoring the UAW’s activities and company conduct in Tuscaloosa.”

Lümali said that after efficiently voting for the UAW, Tuscaloosa would develop into a “full member of the World Workers’ Council.”

IG Metall sees its job as recruiting American staff to socialist staff’ councils. When the highly effective German union discovered that Mercedes had employed communications advisers to craft messages to counter the UAW, as Mercedes is entitled to do underneath U.S. regulation, IG Metall complained to Mercedes, and Mercedes fired the individuals.

“Europeans are trying to infringe upon American employees’ freedom of choice on whether to unionize,” one among them informed me. “By removing the right of free speech, the employee is denied important information to evaluate in making a very personal critical decision that impacts the employee and their family. This is not the equitable process that we hold dear in America.”

Generally, when a union recordsdata a petition to unionize the workforce, the corporate holds conferences to tell staff of the disadvantages of union illustration, such because the fee of dues and promotion on the idea of seniority, reasonably than benefit. But attributable to German union strain, Mercedes is just permitting pro-union materials and UAW representatives to stroll the halls talking to workers, in line with information experiences.

That’s most uncommon. Just as employers are supposed to permit union advocates an opportunity to make their case to staff, so they’re supposed to permit union opponents.

Mercedes staff in Alabama have many causes to reject the union, freed from overseas interference. Employment on the Big Three automakers represented by the UAW has declined, and auto jobs have moved to China with automobile electrification.

UAW membership fell from 1.5 million in 1979 to 370,000 in 2023. Hence, the UAW wants new members to pay dues to fund union bosses’ salaries and pensions for retired union members in Detroit.

Dues for UAW hourly workers are 2.5 hours of pay per thirty days. With average wages of $36 an hour, that’s $90 a month in dues, or over $1,000 a 12 months. That would assist shore up the pensions of the UAW’s 580,000 retirees and pay the salaries of the union officers.

UAW President Shawn Fain earns greater than $220,000 per 12 months, greater than six instances Mercedes staff’ common wages of $36,000. Fain flies to lavish occasions such because the UAW National Stellantis Council Meeting in March in Puerto Rico with other union officials.

Mercedes-Benz staff in Alabama shouldn’t need to pay for union bosses’ perks or legacy pensions in Detroit, and unionizing the plant goes instantly opposite to staff’ pursuits.

Unionization would increase the price of autos, undercutting Mercedes’ competitiveness relative to the auto firms that weren’t represented by unions. For occasion, Jim Farley, Ford’s CEO, said earlier this year that Ford had a $7 billion to $8 billion value drawback over different carmakers attributable to increased prices.

Higher prices from unionization are one motive that Ford, Stellantis, and GM are saying layoffs. The UAW has not succeeded in reversing commitments from the Big Three automakers to go all electrical by 2035—which ends up in job losses for its members and job positive factors for Chinese staff who make the batteries and different electric vehicle elements.

Just as overseas nations shouldn’t intervene in U.S. presidential elections, overseas actors shouldn’t intervene in American union elections.

Foreign unions don’t have American staff’ finest pursuits at coronary heart. If Mercedes needs to function in America, it ought to comply with American regulation and never cave to IG Metall.