UAW’s Casteel Responds to Announcement by AM General and Mercedes-Benz
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW and vice chairman of the Daimler World Employee Committee, today released the following statement in response to AM General and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International’s announcement that Mercedes-Benz has selected AM General to produce the R-Class luxury vehicle at AM General’s assembly plant in Mishawaka, Ind.:
“We commend Mercedes-Benz for investing in a proven facility with a highly skilled workforce represented by UAW Local 5,” said Casteel, who heads the International Union’s Transnational Department. “Mercedes-Benz’s decision highlights the continued growth and expansion of the U.S. automotive industry and it is an affirmation of the skills and work ethic of our UAW Local 5 members. We congratulate the company and employees on this positive new development.”
The AM General and Mercedes-Benz announcement comes as Mercedes-Benz shifts production of the R-Class from its assembly plant near Tuscaloosa, Ala., to help make room for production of its popular C-Class vehicles. Merecedes-Benz’s facility in Alabama is the only Daimler plant in the world that does not currently offer employee representation. In October, Merecedes-Benz employees formed UAW Local 112 to provide representation to any interested employees who join the local as members.
“Investing in the future with UAW Local 5 members in Indiana is a clear signal that Mercedes-Benz and Daimler value employee representation,” said Casteel, who noted that UAW local unions now represent nearly 7,000 workers at Daimler plants in the U.S., including Daimler Trucks North America facilities in North Carolina. “We encourage Mercedes-Benz to move forward in Alabama by recognizing UAW Local 112 so the company and employees there can benefit from the same collaborative partnerships that power high-quality production at Daimler sites across the United States.”