Update On Union Organizing Activity — Mercedes Benz Staves Off Alabama Union Organizing Campaign

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The United Auto Workers (UAW) has lost an election at two Mercedes Benz plants in Vance, Alabama.
United States Employment and HR
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The United Auto Workers (UAW) has lost an election at two Mercedes Benz plants in Vance, Alabama. The May 2024 loss reflected that workers turned down the union by a significant margin (56% to 44%).

The UAW had hoped to make bigger inroads in the south with its organizing efforts at these Mercedes Benz plants. Indeed, in April 2024 workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted in favor of representation by the UAW. That victory marked the first union win at a southern auto plant in more than 70 years. And that victory came in the context of a 6.9% increase in unionization in the private sector in 2023.

The UAW has committed significant financial resources to organizing efforts at multiple auto makers and, as the campaigns in Tennessee and Alabama demonstrate, it is not shying away from facilities in southern states.

What does the latest election loss mean?

The UAW claims the loss in Alabama will have no impact on their efforts to organize workers, including at plants in the South. Such efforts are on the heels of the 2023 National Labor Relations Board decision that allows unions to get to an election much more quickly. As we previously explained, the Board's current rules reduce the time that employers have to campaign against union representation. As such, employers in all industries should continue to train managers and supervisors to properly respond to and handle potential organizing efforts.

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