UAW Seeks New Elections at Mercedes-Benz Plants in Alabama

A week after losing a hard-fought election at two Mercedes-Benz factories in Alabama, the United Automobile Workers asked federal officials Friday to order a new vote, saying the German automaker violated labor laws to suppress support to the union.

Mercedes-Benz has waged a “relentless anti-union campaign” characterized by “unbridled lawlessness,” the UAW said in a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board. Among other things, the union said, Mercedes fired four employees who supported the union, banned pro-union employees from campaigning and forced employees to watch anti-union videos.

Workers at Mercedes plants outside Tuscaloosa, which make SUVs and batteries, voted against joining the union (56% to 44%). But the labor board can order a new election if, after a hearing, a regional director determines that employer misconduct influenced the vote, a board spokeswoman said.

Mercedes denied using improper methods to defeat the union push. Most workers “indicated they were not interested in being represented by the UAW,” the company said in a statement Friday.