NLRB affirms MBUSI worker’s right to organize


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VANCE, Ala. — On the heels of a new ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the UAW today called on Daimler AG to abide by its global Principles of Social Responsibility and respect the right of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) employees to organize a local union.

Just before Thanksgiving, on November 26, the NLRB issued an order on Nov. 26 determining that MBUSI had violated federal labor law in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. The order affirms a decision last summer by a judge who ruled that the MBUSI employee handbook included a provision illegally prohibiting employees from discussing a union. MBUSI employees now can freely solicit other employees — not on working time, but in a work area — in accordance with federal law. The NLRB ordered MBUSI to inform employees that it had violated federal labor law and also to tell employees that they are free to “form, join or assist a union.”

Members of UAW Local 112 at MBUSI hailed the NLRB order as a positive development. “It’s unfortunate that Mercedes-Benz had to be ordered to simply allow workers to discuss their right to organize,” said Kirk Garner a longtime MBUSI employee and member of UAW Local 112 who served as a witness in the NLRB case. “But this is an important development for UAW Local 112 and we’re hopeful it can be a turning point for honoring workers’ rights in Alabama, as Daimler does elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world.”

The MBUSI plant in Alabama is the only Daimler plant in the world that does not offer employee representation, drawing criticism earlier this year from the Daimler World Employee Committee and the German automotive trade union IG Metall. MBUSI’s violation of U.S. labor law contradicts Daimler’s global Principles of Social Responsibility, a 2002 compact between management and labor in which the company said it “acknowledges the human right to form trade unions” and “respects the right to collective bargaining.”

To advance employee representation in Alabama, MBUSI employees in October formed UAW Local 112 to represent any interested employees who join as members. The local union, with the encouragement and support of the Daimler World Employee Committee and IG Metall, is seeking recognition from the company.

Download the NLRB order regarding MBUSI:

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