UAW faces key test in South with Mercedes vote

(10 May 2024)

Birmingham, Alabama – 4 May 2024
1. Wide of union members chant
2. UPSOUND (English) Jacob Ryan, Mercedes worker:
“The way we’re going and the numbers we’re seeing, we’re going to win this campaign.”
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Brett Garrard, Mercedes worker:
“Mercedes has not kept up with the cost of living, they’ve not kept up with inflation. They’ve let every other industry catch up to us but they still claim the standard. We are autoworkers, yes we’re Southern autoworkers, but we deserve autoworker pay. The big three is winning, Chattanooga won, Daimler Truck won, it’s our turn. On the night of the 17th, I would say: do you hear us now?
4. UAW sign

Tuscaloosa, Alabama – 5 May 2024
5. Union t-shirt
6. SOUNDBITE (English) David Johnston, Mercedes worker:
“So I think the main thing that’s changed really is that people realize what unions can actually do. I think the big three contracts kind of reignited union power across the United States. I think it allowed people in the South to see what unions are actually capable of. Unfortunately, unions have always been weak in the South. But with this being completely worker-driven, worker-oriented, to organize and everything, it’s allowed people to really come together.”
7. Union banner
A month after workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee overwhelmingly voted to unionize, the United Auto Workers is aiming for a key victory at Mercedes-Benz in Alabama.

More than 5,000 workers at the facility in Vance and nearby battery plant will vote next week on whether to join the UAW.

A win at Mercedes would be a major prize for the UAW, which is seeking to crack resistance to unions in the Deep South where states have lured foreign auto manufacturers with large tax breaks, lower labor costs and a nonunion workforce.

The company has repeatedly promised to improve pay and conditions, and everal workers said they company recently increased pay only to try to stave off the union push.

Jacob Ryan, 34, has worked for Mercedes for 10 years, starting as a temporary worker around $17-per-hour for “the same exact work” before being hired full-time.

Ryan says inflation is eating into employee paychecks He said he pays close to $1,200 each month in child care costs for his son’s daycare and his daughter’s after school care.
Ryan said the union push is getting more traction this time after the UAW won more generous pay for workers with Detroit’s three automakers.

“The way we’re going and the numbers we’re seeing, we’re going to win this campaign,” Ryan said.


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Author: admin