A group of Mercedes employees want to be unionized - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

A group of Mercedes employees want to be unionized

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VANCE - AL -

Workers the Mercedes plant in Vance are standing up - to what they call un-fair practices.  Many say they want to be unionized and claim they're being threatened with termination.  Others say safety in the plant is a daily concern, but mercedes tells ABC 33/40 that's not the case. 
 
Mercedes has pumped up Alabama's workforce. But Monday a group of it's workers and Senator Bobby Singleton spoke out against the company's practices. A complaint to the National Labor Relations Board claims Mercedes Benz U.S. International is quote "unlawfully interfering with restraining and coercing employees" against unionizing.

"While Alabama is a right to work state, we believe, people should have the right to choose," Senator Bobby Singleton (D) Greene County said. 

Employees told us, if they talk about unionizing during work time, they're threatened with getting fired.

"All we want is a fair shake," Don White, a Mercedes employee said. "We want to be able to do what they do. If they take 30 minutes with Team Members to explain why they don't need a union, we want  30 minutes to explain what the benefits are."

In response, Mercedes representative Felyicia Jerald told us, "The decision regarding union representation is up to our team members. MBUSI will remain neutral. Team members are welcome to express their view and opinions on this topic."

Another group of plant workers called the ''Team Member Information Committee" put up a ''U-A-W No'' sign off the interstate. That group says they don't want to be unionized.

"I'd be willing to say 60% or more of our work force in the assembly shops are temporary workers," White said.

They told us, the plant promised those temporary workers full time status, but that hasn't happened. 

"They should have the opportunity to work as a full time worker and have the same benefits we do," George Jones, a Mercedes employee said.

"They were given a lot of tax incentives to make better work for Alabamians - not temporary work," Rodney Bowens, a Mercedes worker said.

They also told the crowd about safety concerns...

"We have numerous issues reported almost daily," White said. "Mercedes talks about being pro-active, but I can tell you from experience, they are reactive." 

In response to the safety concerns, Mercedes told us, "our safety record is exemplary and is among the best in our industry."

A hearing on the complaint is set for April. The Vance plant is the only Mercedes production facility in the world where workers are not unionized.

 

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