Following the same road map that led to the ongoing organization efforts at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., the United Auto Workers have allied with German union IG Metall and Daimler’s works council on their march toward Mercedes-Benz’s MBUSI plant in Vance, Ala.
Reuters reports the UAW are doing card checks and distributing propaganda at MBUSI with help from the two German organizing bodies in the former’s ongoing march to unionize the South; other efforts include those at two Nissan plants in Tennessee and Mississippi.
Furthermore, the UAW has gone after Daimler via the National Labor Relations Board over allegations of interference and intimidation of MBUSI workers in exercising their right to organize; the hearing is scheduled for April 7.
Leading the Southern march, UAW regional director Gary Casteel explained how the union was paying attention to globalization and its effect on workers’ rights:
“The companies globalized a long time ago, and workers’ rights didn’t follow suit. It’s time that the workers’ rights caught up, and that’s the reason you see all the interaction between international unions and a global strategy.”
Said interaction comes as the result of the UAW gaining representation with Daimler’s World Employee Committee, whose role is to “strengthen and deepen the dialogue and information transfer between the various employee representatives and unions” according to Daimler in a statement.
While union leaders on both sides of the Atlantic want to see representation at MBUSI, not all of the plant’s 3,000 workers are on board. Elizabeth Kelly, who works as a team leader in quality control during the plant’s overnight shift and is opposed to the UAW, sees no link being what the union is doing with VW and Mercedes:
“The UAW supporters believe that if a union is voted in in Chattanooga, it will help their cause here. I tend to believe that it doesn’t really affect us one way or the other. It’s two totally different companies.”