Workers at the Mercedes-Benz plant outside Tuscaloosa, AL, announced their campaign to join the United Auto Workers (UAW). This initiative comes on the heels of a similar effort by Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, TN.
The campaign, now public, has seen more than 30% of the plant's workforce sign union authorization cards, a critical step towards forming a union affiliated with the UAW.
Jeremy Kimbrell, a measurement machine operator at Mercedes-Benz since 1999, expressed optimism about the campaign's potential impact.
“In the past, people didn’t know if we had a pathway forward here. Now everybody’s coming together and seeing what the pathway is, and it’s through the union,” Kimbrell said. “When we get our union in here, I think people will once again look at Mercedes and say, it’s not just another job, it’s a career job. It’s a job where generations will want to come and work. And that’ll spread out to the suppliers and then to the broader area.”
The push for unionization comes amid financial prosperity for Mercedes-Benz, which reported $156 billion in total profits over the last decade, with profits growing 200% in the last three years compared to the previous three. Despite these robust figures, the average price of Mercedes vehicles in the U.S. has surged by 31% from 2020 to 2023, while pay for the company's U.S. workers has largely stagnated.