Tag Archive for: Mercedes

DETROIT – The United Auto Workers is committing $40 million through 2026 in new organizing funds to support non-union autoworkers and battery workers who are organizing across the country, and particularly in the South. 

The UAW International Executive Board voted Tuesday to commit the funds in response to an explosion in organizing activity among non-union auto and battery workers, in order to meet the moment and grow the labor movement. 

In the next few years, the electric vehicle battery industry is slated to add tens of thousands of jobs across the country, and new standards are being set as the industry comes online. These jobs will supplement, and in some cases largely replace, existing powertrain jobs in the auto industry. Through a massive new organizing effort, workers will fight to maintain and raise the standard in the emerging battery industry. 

The major announcement comes on the heels of growing organizing momentum across the non-union auto sector, with workers at Volkswagen in Chattanooga announcing majority support for the union, and workers at Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama and at Mercedes in Vance, Alabama following closely on their heels. 

More than ten thousand autoworkers have already signed their union cards to join the UAW and fight for a better life at 14 non-union automakers from California to South Carolina. To learn more about that campaign, visit UAW.org/join. 

Montgomery, Ala. — Workers at Hyundai’s sole US plant, in Montgomery, Alabama, have announced a major milestone in their campaign to join the UAW, with over 30 percent of autoworkers at the plant having signed union cards.

In a new video, “Montgomery Can’t Wait,” Hyundai workers speak out on the ties between the union movement at the Korean automaker and the civil rights legacy of “Montgomery, the city where Rosa Parks sat down, and where thousands of Hyundai workers are ready to Stand Up.”

The video announcing the campaign can be accessed at uaw.org/hyundai and the media is invited to use the footage.

“I’m getting close to retirement and the company has literally broken me down,” said Drena Smith, a team member who has spent most of her 19 years at Hyundai in the paint shop and has had rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders and carpal tunnel surgery in one hand. “We need compensation for that when we retire. Not just a cake and a car discount for a car we can’t afford to buy because we won’t have any income. We need a real retirement; we need to win our union.”

“My oldest son works at the plant, over on General Assembly (GA),” said Dewayne Naylor, who currently does Body Shop Quality Control. “I went through 14 years in GA, and I know what it’ll do to your body over there. I don’t want the younger generation to go through what we did. Over the last ten years, most of my raises have been just 12 or 13 cents an hour. The price of their cars, they go up every year. But my pay don’t. If we don’t get the union here, our pay will never keep up.”

“I was a temp at Hyundai from 2014 to 2017. I made $11.03 an hour the entire time,” said Ronald Terry, a team member on Final 3 and 5 in General Assembly. “They kept saying, just wait a little longer, you’ll make it to full time. I finally did, but the pay is still mediocre. With the union, we can bring our pay and benefits up to a higher standard. That’s how you motivate your workers. It’s not just good for us, it’s good for the product we produce.”

“When you’re injured, management pushes you back on the line too soon,” said Peggy Howard, who works on F1 Final in General Assembly. “I had surgery on my rotator cuff in September and I had to go back to work the last of December. I didn’t get the two weeks ramp up and now I’m having pains over again. I had a cortisone injection three weeks ago and I’m about to go back for another injection. If that doesn’t work, the doctor told me he’ll have to do the surgery over again. We need to make our jobs safer; we need the union.”

“Here’s when I knew we needed the union,” said Quichelle Liggins, a Quality Inspector at Hyundai. “My youngest son had a basketball game, and I scheduled a half day of vacation time. Someone was supposed to come to the line to relieve me, but no one came. Finally, I clocked out and I missed the first quarter of his game. They still wanted to write me up for job abandonment. I had to go in front of team relations, and I explained what happened, that I was legit in having this personal day. And my group leader stopped me and said this job is more important than your family. At that moment, I just froze. That was sickening. I knew things at Hyundai had gone too far.”

The announcement marks the third major breakthrough in the national movement of non-union autoworkers organizing to join the UAW in the wake of the historic Stand Up Strike victory at the Big Three auto companies. Over 10,000 non-union autoworkers have signed union cards in recent months, with public campaigns launched at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Mercedes in Vance, Alabama, while workers at over two dozen other facilities continue to organize.

Over 10,000 autoworkers across 13 non-union companies have signed union cards with the UAW, as momentum builds across the auto industry for better wages, benefits, and rights on the job. The major milestone comes less than 90 days after UAW members ratified record contracts at the Big Three. 

“Our Stand Up movement has caught fire among America’s autoworkers, far beyond the Big Three,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “These workers are standing up for themselves, for their families, and for their communities, and our union will have their back every step of the way.” 

In the wake of the UAW’s historic Stand Up Strike victory at the Big Three automakers (Ford, GM, Stellantis), thousands of non-union autoworkers began organizing their own unions with the UAW across the entire non-union auto industry.  

In just two months, workers at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tenn., and at Mercedes in Vance, Ala., have gone public with their campaigns, nearing a majority of workers signed up at both plants. Workers at more than two dozen other facilities have begun organizing in the thousands, inspired by the Big Three victory and the non-union autoworkers’ public announcements. 

For more information on the non-union autoworkers’ organizing efforts at Volkswagen, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, Volvo, Tesla, Nissan, BMW, Subaru, Mazda, Rivian, Lucid, and Hyundai, visit UAW.org/join

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Workers at the Mercedes-Benz plant outside Tuscaloosa, Ala., went public today with their campaign to join the UAW. Over 30% of the plant’s workforce have signed union authorization cards, a major milestone on their path to form a union with the UAW.

A video announcing the campaign can be accessed at uaw.org/mercedes-al and the media is invited to use the footage.

The launch at Mercedes in Alabama comes just one month after Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., reached the 30% threshold and went public with their drive to join the UAW. It comes just six weeks after non-union autoworkers across the nation started organizing to join the UAW. For more information on that campaign, visit uaw.org/join.

“In the past, people didn’t know if we had a pathway forward here,” said Jeremy Kimbrell, a measurement machine operator who has worked at Mercedes since 1999. “Now everybody’s coming together and seeing what the pathway is, and it’s through the union. When we get our union in here, I think people will once again look at Mercedes and say, it’s not just another job, it’s a career job. It’s a job where generations will want to come and work. And that’ll spread out to the suppliers and then to the broader area.”

Mercedes made $156 billion in total profits over the last decade. In the last three years their profits grew 200% over the previous three years. From 2020 to 2023, the average price of Mercedes vehicles in the United States jumped 31% even as pay for Mercedes’ U.S. workers stagnated. Workers at the Tuscaloosa plant build the Mercedes GLE, GLE coupé and GLS model series as well as the all-electric EQS SUV and EQE.

Today, 33 U.S. Senators are calling on 13 non-union auto companies to refrain from union-busting as over 150,000 autoworkers have launched campaigns to organize with the UAW. In a letter sent to the CEOs of the automakers, the Senators, led by Senators Peters, Stabenow, Padilla, Butler, and Brown stressed the importance of respecting workers’ right to form a union, and encouraged the companies to commit to neutrality in any organizing effort.

“Your commitment to neutrality would ensure that management does not pressure workers into voting against unionization or delaying the election process,” the Senators’ letter states. “We believe a neutrality agreement is the bare minimum standard manufacturers should meet in respecting workers’ rights, especially as companies receive and benefit from federal funds related to the electric vehicle transition.”

The letter also addresses reports of illegal actions taken by a number of the companies. In recent weeks, the UAW has filed unfair labor practice charges at the National Labor Relations Board against Honda, Hyundai, and Volkswagen for engaging in various illegal union-busting tactics in an attempt to intimidate and dissuade workers from voting to unionize.

“These retaliatory actions are hostile to workers’ rights and must not be repeated if further organizing efforts are made by these companies’ workers,” the letter continues. “We therefore urge you all to commit to implementation of a neutrality agreement at your manufacturing plants.”

“Every autoworker in this country deserves their fair share of the auto industry’s record profits, whether at the Big Three or the Non-Union Thirteen,” UAW President Shawn Fain said. “We applaud these U.S. Senators for standing with workers who are standing up for economic justice on the job. It’s time for the auto companies to stop breaking the law and take their boot off the neck of the American autoworker, whether they’re at Volkswagen, Toyota, Tesla, or any other corporation doing business in this country.”

The campaign comes on the heels of the UAW winning record contracts at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis in October 2023, after the six-week Stand Up Strike that captivated the labor movement and led non-union automakers to raise wages in anticipation of fending off potential organizing at their facilities.

More information on the organizing drive can be found at UAW.org/join.

UAW President Shawn Fain addressed non-union autoworkers via Facebook Live on Monday, December 11. The livestream can be viewed on the UAW’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

During the broadcast, Fain gave updates on the union’s historic organizing drive, detailing how thousands of workers at non-union automakers have been reaching out to the UAW and organizing with their coworkers.

“Right now, thousands of workers at thirteen auto companies are fighting for a better life with the UAW,” Fain said during the livestream. “Workers at Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Volvo, Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid are ready to Stand Up. From California to South Carolina. From Illinois to Alabama. These workers are making history, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Fain highlighted the organizing drive at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where a thousand workers had already signed union authorization cards in less than a week, with hundreds more signing up over the last few days. “Volkswagen workers are on fire and are inspiring workers all across the country,” Fain said. Workers at the Volkswagen facility were the first to go public with their efforts to join the union.

President Fain also announced that the UAW had filed three unfair labor practice charges this morning against Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen for engaging in union-busting activity.

“Like corporations everywhere, no matter what they tell you, these companies are more than willing to break the law if it means protecting their bottom line from you,” Fain said. “They’ll lie, cheat, and steal. Intimidate, surveil, and coerce. And then out of the other side of their mouth, they’ll tell you we’re family.”

Fain ended the livestream with a clear message: the UAW will do everything in its power to support non-union autoworkers’ efforts to unionize, but ultimately, the workers will be the ones who will need to make it happen. “These workers won’t win because a lawyer filed paperwork,” he said. “They won’t win just because someone handed them a union card. They won’t win because of the UAW leadership or Shawn Fain. The workers at Honda, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Mercedes, and Toyota and all these non-union auto companies will win because they’re ready to Stand Up and fight for what they deserve.

“We’re asking you to reach out to anyone you know who may work at a non-union auto plant or might know someone who does. And we’re asking you to step up and organize your own workplace. Nothing else can fix our broken economy like a bigger, better, and bolder union movement. And no one’s going to do it but you.”