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The UAW is asking the NLRB to reject the results of the Mercedes vote and order a new election

The UAW is asking the NLRB to reject the results of the Mercedes vote and order a new election

The United Auto Workers union asked federal officials on Friday to reject the results of last week’s failed Mercedes-Benz union vote and order a new election.

The Detroit-based union wants the National Labor Relations Board to overturn the organizing election the union lost last week at the Mercedes complex in Vance, Alabama — a vote that dealt a blow to the nationwide autoworkers organizing campaign organized by the UAW after the success of the Volkswagen plant union. Fagin AG in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in April.

The UAW is calling for new elections at Mercedes on the grounds that the German automaker fired four pro-union workers and allowed anti-union employees to seek support on company time while prohibiting union supporters from doing the same, among other discriminatory measures. After a five-day election last week, 56% of workers at the Mercedes plant voted against joining the United Workers union.

more: UAW loses regulatory vote in Mercedes in Alabama

Kayla Blado, a spokeswoman for the NLRB, confirmed in a statement that the agency’s Atlanta Region 10 office received the UAW’s three-page filing objecting to the election: “The Regional Director will review the objections and may order a hearing on them. If the Regional Director finds that her conduct… The work affected the elections, so she can order new elections to be held.”

The NLRB is also investigating six counts of unfair labor practices filed by the UAW since March. The charges allege that Mercedes disciplined workers for speaking out about unions at work, blocked the distribution of union materials, and made anti-union statements.

In a statement on Friday, the UAW said that “more than 2,000 Mercedes workers voted yes to win their union after an unprecedented and illegal anti-union campaign waged by their employer against them. What this tells us is that in a fair fight, where Mercedes is when workers take responsibility By following the law, they would win their union. All these workers wanted was a fair chance to have a voice on the job and have a say in their working conditions.

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“And that’s what we’re asking here. Let’s have a vote at Mercedes in Alabama where the company’s not allowed to fire people, they’re not allowed to intimidate people, they’re not allowed to violate the law and their own code. The company code, and let the workers decide.”

A Mercedes spokesperson responded to the UAW’s filing on Friday with a statement, saying: “More than 90 percent of Mercedes-Benz USA International (MBUSI) team members made their voices heard through a secret vote and the majority indicated they were not interested.” They are represented by the UAW for collective bargaining purposes.

“Our goal throughout this process has been to ensure that every eligible team member has the opportunity to participate in a fair election. We sincerely hoped that the UAW would respect the decision of our team members. Throughout the election, we worked with the NLRB to adhere to its guidelines and will continue to do so as we work through this process.”

The number of votes was 2,642 against union representation and 2,045 in favor, according to results published by the National Labor Relations Board after the five-day election.

Kirk Garner, a 26-year Mercedes employee who has been working to consolidate the plant since 2000, agreed with the union’s objections.

“What do these objections mean for us going forward? Well, we might get another election out of them,” he told the Detroit News via text message. “The company may not be able to change wages, benefits and working conditions. Maybe we can file another application in April next year before this all goes to court.”

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“The company will blame the UAW and say it is willing to improve conditions, but the UAW has raised objections,” Garner added.

Unfair accusations of business practices during elections are not uncommon, experts said. The NLRB did not immediately have comprehensive data on runoff elections, but they have occurred in recent years — including in Alabama. Workers at an Amazon.com Inc. warehouse got… in Bessemer, Alabama, on a new election in 2022 after labor officials ruled that the company’s anti-union campaign influenced the results of a vote the union lost in 2021. NPR reported. Because of the contested ballots, the second vote remained inconclusive.

However, the NLRB’s acceptance of the challenge could be influenced by those in the White House. “It depends on whether the Republican or Democratic party is in power and who gets appointed to the committee,” said Art Wheaton, an auto industry specialist at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations who has trained automakers such as General Motors and Ford. Motor Company as well as the UAW.

“Under the current administration, they are a little more pro-union than the previous administration. There is a definite intent under the NLRB to provide more of a level playing field for unionization. They are more proactive in giving workers the opportunity to have their voice if people are prevented from voting or expressing their true intentions.”

Given the comments from Alabama politicians, the number of posts and commercials about voting and the public’s meetings with staff, Wheaton said the charges are more than just a formality. Its filing could also support UAW charges against Mercedes in Germany alleging the company violated a new law on global supply chain practices.

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Dan Gilmore, an employment lawyer who also teaches employment law classes at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said via text message that the alleged behavior by Mercedes “contrasts very sharply with the lack of opposition offered by Volkswagen prior to each of the elections in which the automaker participated.” These cars, especially the first election in 2014. The allegations described in the objections include some classic behavior that has, in previous cases, led to elections being annulled and new elections being ordered.

The union’s move to get another vote at Mercedes is consistent with the actions of the UAW and a $40 million organizing campaign for non-union auto workers, said Mark Robinson, a director at consulting firm MSR Strategy and a former in-house counsel for General Motors who was involved in labor negotiations. However, even if the NLRB calls a second election, there may not be much likelihood of the union winning it.

Pressing charges, even if unsuccessful, still communicates to others that the union is ready to put up a fight. Robinson said leaders might be happy if there is no second election because another loss would bring another round of bad headlines for the UAW.

“Obviously it was a massive setback,” he said of the UAW loss. “They can’t really afford a second defeat in a row. They want to be somewhat confident, at least in this particular round of regulation.”

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