By on September 8, 2014

MBUSI Mercedes-Benz Alabama

Despite allegations to the contrary, Daimler AG chair Dieter “Dr. Z” Zetsche says his company remains neutral on the subject of unionization in regards to the Mercedes factory in Vance, Ala.

According to The Detroit News, Zetsche says the decision to join the United Auto Workers would be left up to the employees at the plant, adding that, “As long as a company does what they should do with their workers: treat them respectfully and treat them correctly, they are never going to unionize.” He also noted the plant’s employees have opted not to unionize over the past two decades.

At the state level, Alabama governor Robert Bentley claimed that if the UAW did win the Mercedes facility, he would have trouble recruiting more foreign companies to his state, especially those who call Japan and South Korea home.

Meanwhile, the UAW is still pursing its Southern strategy, having already established a new local near the Volkswagen AG factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. in August with the aim of attracting its workers to voluntarily unionize. Union president Dennis Williams said the UAW would “respond to concerns raised by pro-union workers” at the Mercedes plant, as well.

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32 Comments on “Daimler: Unionization Is For The Employees To Decide...”

  • avatar

    ““As long as a company does what they should do with their workers: treat them respectfully and treat them correctly, they are never going to unionize.””

    That makes sense. The problem is when that doesn’t happen…

    • 0 avatar

      @IHateCars…Exactly….When I started at GM 42 years ago, the hourly were considered a lower life form, by senior, and sometimes junior management.

      I was told more than once, “your not paid to think”. The” us, vs them” , attitude was alive, and well. It wasn’t until the early 90’s that we were even considered a part of the “team” . By then the damage was done.

      If Daimler stays on the path their on, the Union will never even get their foot in the door.

      • 0 avatar

        Not then Mikey, until today. This whole “team” idea only works when things are going well. When things go badly, even if they do because of bad product planning, bad engineering, incompetent management or even just a general downturn of the economy, employees, specially but not only workers, are suddenly not so much part of the team anymore. Suddenly, the problem is the worker with his outrageous salary and benefits dragging down the company. Suddenly, if this is not addressed, the company will die.

        A balance must be found and collaboration and harmony in the workplace is conductive to more productive and profitable relations to both sides. But workers should never forget they re always on the receiving end and act accordingly. Always think for yourself and never swallow whole corporate or union speech and solutions. They always have their own interests in mind, not the workers.

  • avatar
    Clueless Economist

    Can someone explain to me why one German auto company (VW) HAS to have a works council representative that means union representative but another German auto company (DB) doesn’t? Does DB not have a works council?

    • 0 avatar
      Rod Panhard

      In Volkswagen’s situation, you have to take the deep dive into post-war VW history. A lot of promises were made to save the company from fading off into obscurity. So the players at the table included government officials, VW executives, and workers. Fast forward ahead to the present, and VW’s charter requires works council representation on the VW board of directors.

      It’s a fascinating history.

  • avatar

    Union representation on the board of directors is required by law in Germany, even if the workers have no equity stake in the company. If such a law was passed in the US, Rush Limbaugh’s head would assplode.

    Despite the blatant anti-Jebus, communism that takes place in Germany, German auto companies manage to build high quality cars that are in demand all over the world. Their workers are paid a living wage. German workers are guaranteed access to health care, education or job training, paid vacations and pensions. German auto companies manage to operate in such an environment and still remain profitable. Of course I’m sure that all of the above makes baby Jebus cry.

  • avatar

    German companies successfully make cars for the world w/ German union labor.

    German companies have not successfully made cars w/ the UAW. Their experience w/ the UAW was absolute failure and they seem to have located where the UAW threat is minimized.

    btw, Germans are Germans. Companies such as Zeiss did manage to be at the top of their industry even under Communism. We can only wonder how much better German cars might be w/o unionization there.

    • 0 avatar

      Zeiss has a very complicated history and most of the world famous optical and medical products you’re probably thnking of likely came from the West German Oberkochen establishment.

      Wiki has a good thumbnail:

      Zeiss Jena in East Germany was largely relegated after the war to selling exceptionally good Tessars while the sexy and advanced fancy glass was Oberkochen.

      And of course even Zeiss west had to partner with the Japanese to maintain saleability and get up to speed with electronics. Germans are Germans but Japanese took most of their markets.

      • 0 avatar

        I guess you should have read the entire article:

        “The eastern Zeiss Jena was also well known for producing high-quality products

        Following German reunification, VEB Zeiss Jena—reckoned as one of the few East German firms that was even potentially able to compete on a global basis

        —became Zeiss Jena GmbH, which became Jenoptik Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH in 1990. In 1991, Jenoptik Carl Zeiss Jena was split in two, with Carl Zeiss AG (Oberkochen) taking over the company’s divisions for microscopy and other precision optics (effectively reuniting the pre-war Carl Zeiss enterprise) and moving its microscopy and planetarium divisions back to Jena. Jenoptik GmbH was split off as a specialty company in the areas of photonics, optoelectronics, and mechatronics.[9][10]”

    • 0 avatar

      thornmark, “German companies have not successfully made cars w/ the UAW. Their experience w/ the UAW was absolute failure…”

      So true! And for GM and Chrysler, their experience with the UAW was their death. For Ford it was near death.

      Still, it is up to the employees to decide if they want union representation, or not.

      We can all look forward to a never-ending onslaught by the UAW to unionize the Right-to-Work States. They do it for the money!

      But, maybe, as the political climate changes in America, more States will declare themselves Right-to-Work States, like the current progressive trend-setters.

      Union membership has been on the decline for decades. Maybe the working class will decide to do away with unions altogether.

      Employees have the best protection of all. Better than any union!

      They have their federal government to protect them. And they already paid for that protection. With their taxes. No additional dues required.

  • avatar

    unions r bad.


  • avatar

    How about car companies be made into worker cooperatives?

    This will throw everyone on their head.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The UAW is gradually becoming more desperate.

    They require funds to exist, so the UAW must increase the size of it’s tax base.

    If the US wanted to remove unions quickly, then tax them like any business.

    I mean a union attempts to present itself as insurance for the worker. Don’t US insurance companies pay tax.

    If unions have enough money to donate to political parties (mainly left wing socialist) then they obviously can contribute to the country.

  • avatar

    From many a VW post, I learned officially mfgs must remain neutral under US law. I’d say look for a repeat of the Chattanooga saga complete with improper intervention from the state and local gov’t and whining on the part of the Communists when they lose.

    • 0 avatar

      Communists? Because union means communism? That’s the thinking?

      • 0 avatar

        I can’t speak for other nations but look into who is in charge of most of the US unions, where/how they spend their money, and who are their political allies.

        • 0 avatar

          Democrats? Most unions, in Western (yes, I include Latin America in Western) countries, even advanced and established democratic countries, have ties to parties and groups, much, much to the left of the US Democrats. That hardly qualifies them as Communists. They work within the established institutional framework and are considered and essential part of capitalism (unions) and democracy (all left wing parties, even if fr left) in all these countries. Except the US. Where many equate the Democrats with communists. You wish. Or dream.

          • 0 avatar

            I wish it was a dream because then I could wake up.

          • 0 avatar

            Why would you want to wake up 28? You still live in a dream. Has gotten a (very small) bit corrupted and old, and needs adjustments and evolving in political structures, but nothing that cannot be made forthwith we the immense reserves of talent and financial prowess the US has. Those things are not going anywhere anytime soon and the Democrats are not squandering it. The US needs to evolve sure, but there is no nation on earth that doesn’t need to and there is certainly no other country that could do it as swiftly and humanely as the US.

      • 0 avatar

        Not unions, anyone who 28cars disagrees with is a communist. Regardless of veteran status, expedition awards etc. I vote Democrat more often than not, so I’m a communist in the eyes of those who let certain interest groups do their thinking for them. None of my Cambodian or Vietnamese friends think I’m a communist, but they let knowledge of the words meaning get in the way.

        • 0 avatar

          As did my father, and yet his and I presume your breed of “blue dog” is dying out pure and simple. Personally I would prefer a centrist approach but this seldom seems to happen.

          • 0 avatar

            The US is nothing but centrist. The Republicans very seldomly pull them off to the right and the Democrats very rarely bring them ever so slightly to the left. But both US parties are centrist.

          • 0 avatar

            28, I won’t call you a fascist (you’re not) and I won’t call you any of the other dirty words some people wish could be attached to conservative voters. Can you try to ease up on the communist shtick? I know it’s become a great club to beat democrats with, but it’s very offensive to the people who’ve had the bad luck to actually interact with communist states.

          • 0 avatar


            I agree with your point, such things are easily interpreted differently depending on the audience. My mistake. Goodnight gentleman.

        • 0 avatar

          Can’t claim to be in 28’s head, but it does seem a lot of people in America don’t know what a Communist is. Anyway, people like that should relax a little. The only place in the world where bona fide Communists won a national majority election was Chile with Salvador Allende (and some even dispute he was a Communist). In European parliamentary style democracies Communists sometimes have even shared power, but don’t take over. Seems democracies are pretty safe from Communists. So, it’s completely wrong and counter intuitive that anything remotely Communist stands a chance in the US. Oh well.

          • 0 avatar

            I am well aware of Operation Condor and its effects on South America so it is safe to say we in the US have yet to see cruelty perpetrated by such groups as Shining Path or FARC, but this does not mean it is impossible. Nor does it mean the same hogwash these groups believed in is not shared by political leaders in my country.

            Oh and Daniel Ortega, a long time Sandinista, is currently President of Nicaragua by a 2008 election.


            Conveniently the Communist Sandinistas have rebranded themselves “social democrats”, how cute.


          • 0 avatar

            Nicaragua is hardly an example of a stable and well-established democracy (or even a real one), while suffering from an even more pernicious sort of intervention in Chiquita bananas than Operation Condor ever was.

            That being said, tigers change their stripes and do so in order to obtain power, among other reasons. Look at my own country where the previous president was only elected after his party embraced capitalism fully and the current one was so far left in her youth that she was arrested and tortured during the military dictatorship.

            Fact remains that places like Colombia that sprung so long lasted movements as the FARC did so because far left groups were not allowed to participate in the process. When democracy opens up to these groups they quickly become neutered.

            Crazies exist on both sides 28 and the “more real” the democracy the harder it is to undermine it, being that they are especially resilient to left wing threats as people tend to not buy the full left ideals. Most modern democracies that have been toppled have been toppled by right wing movements.

      • 0 avatar

        For many Americans, especially in the South, unions are not just communistic, but anti-Christian. There was a time in the South where just saying the word ‘union’ would get you lynched….the situation is only slightly better now.

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