UAW v Mercedes

Do scabs identify as scabs?

The United Auto Workers on Friday accused Mercedes of interfering in a union election at two Alabama factories by intimidating and coercing workers into voting no.

A week after Mercedes workers voted against joining the union, the labor group filed an objection with the National Labor Relations Board seeking a new vote. The union accused the company of engaging in a “relentless antiunion campaign marked with unlawful discipline, unlawful captive audience meetings, and a general goal of coercing and intimidating employees.”

As companies tend to do when they can get away with it.

The company’s spokespeople of course said it was nothing but helpful and polite.

Employees at Mercedes battery and assembly plants near Tuscaloosa voted 56% against the union. The result handed the union a setback in its efforts to unionize workers at auto plants in the Deep South. The defeat in Alabama came a month after the UAW scored a breakthrough victory at Volkswagen’s 4,300-worker assembly factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Deep South has been ferociously anti-union since forever.

The union filing said that four pro-union employees were fired, and the company allowed anti-union employees to “solicit support during work hours but forbade pro-union employees from soliciting support during work hours.” The company also required workers to attend anti-union captive-audience meetings and displayed anti-union propaganda while prohibiting the distribution of union materials and paraphernalia in non-work areas, according to the objection.

The union said the company, or its representatives, polled workers about union support, suggested voting in the union would be futile, targeted union supporters with drug tests and “engaged in conduct which deliberately sought to exacerbate racial feelings by irrelevant and inflammatory appeals to racial prejudice.”

Straight out of the Deep South Anti-union Playbook.

A spokeswoman for the National Labor Relations Board confirmed an objection had been filed. Kayla Blado, a spokeswoman for the NLRB, said the regional director will review the objections and could order a hearing. If it is determined that the employer’s conduct affected the election, a new election could be ordered, she said.

Fingers crossed.

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