Mercedes Employees Want the UAW out of Alabama

Posted by Tucker Nelson on Monday, June 2nd, 2014 at 4:40 pm - Permalink

As the United Auto Workers (UAW) union attempts to move on from their humiliating loss at Volkswagen in February, they had set their sights on Vance Alabama, home to the Mercedes plant.

The UAW has spent almost two and a half years trying to organize this plant but has yet to call a vote. Now, pro-union employees are throwing a major road block in front of the UAW: they want the union to back down.

 Even pro-union employees at Mercedes in Vance Alabama are fed up with the lack of leadership the UAW has given them. They believe that another union should take the place of the UAW because “This has gone on for two-and-half years, and people are burnt out," said Kirk Garner, a 13-year Mercedes employee and union supporter. reports that at the beginning of the campaign there were more than 180 Mercedes employees on leadership helping to organize for UAW but as frustrations rose, that number has dropped down to 50.

Many of the frustrations came from the fact that the UAW was choosing to try and hit 65 percent approval in authorization cards at the plant, rather than the minimum 30 percent needed to call the vote. Since the UAW was trying to reach that threshold, many of the cards that they had gotten signed have since expired causing this campaign to be drawn out. Jim Spitzley, longtime employee at Mercedes said that "It's all about the image with the UAW, and it's not about the workers" Therefore, that is why employees at the plant are calling for the UAW to step down and have another union, possibly the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, to step in.

But this also raises another issue. It seems that the UAW has sole jurisdiction, no other union may unionize, over Mercedes in Alabama. The AFL-CIO granted the UAW this sole jurisdiction and the only way another union could intervene is if the “exclusive jurisdiction” was lifted.

Even if the jurisdiction was not lifted this is sending a message to the UAW, that they are not wanted in Alabama. The employees are saying enough is enough, that the UAW has not followed through on their promises.

 Kirk Garner said that "We're dedicated to the cause of furthering workers' rights…We just don't want to do it with the UAW."

It seems that the workers have spoken and it is time for the UAW to go home to Detroit.