Alabama is not Michigan, says the governor as Mercedes workers vote on joining the UAW

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“Alabama is not Michigan,” Ivey said to approximately 1,000 people during a chamber of commerce function in Huntsville.
The unionization effort comes amid a $40 million campaign by the UAW to organize foreign-owned assembly plants across the South.
Here is full coverage of the Alabama Mercedes union battle It also comes after the UAW won big in November with three Detroit automakers – General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.
Under federal law, workers can request unionization if 30% of workers at a specific workplace sign union authorization cards.
The UAW said it requests elections once it gets 70% backing for union support at a specific workplace.
Workers at a Volkswagen plant overwhelmingly voted to join the UAW with 73% support following two previous failed attempts dating back to 2014.
That vote represented the first time since the 1940s, that workers at an auto plant in the South voted in an election to join a union.
Ivey said SB231 “further protect our Alabama jobs,” and ensures that “every vote is counted.” “My message is clear: I am standing up for Alabamians and protecting our jobs,” Ivey said.


Alabama Gov. On Monday, Kay Ivey declared that she had signed legislation that may result in the removal of financial rewards for businesses that choose to voluntarily recognize unions beginning in the following year.

However, none of the proceedings taking place this week east of Tuscaloosa, where thousands of workers at a Mercedes-Benz plant will choose whether or not to be represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW), are affected by the legislation, SB231.

Ivey told about a thousand people at a chamber of commerce event in Huntsville, “Alabama is not Michigan.”. “Huntsville and Tuscaloosa are not Detroit.”. We want to make sure that this wonderful state’s future is continued to be defined by Alabama values, not Detroit values. “.

At the automaker’s Vance factory, Ivey made his remarks on the first day of voting in a historic election. The UAW is spending forty million organizing foreign-owned assembly plants throughout the South, coinciding with the unionization drive. At the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, there is also a union drive in progress.

Watch the Alabama Mercedes union fight in its entirety here.

It also follows three Detroit automakers—General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis—and the UAW’s significant victory in November. The United Auto Workers (UAW) secured contracts that resulted in improved working conditions and increased wages for the striking workers at those Michigan companies. This gave the labor union the confidence to target 13 non-union automakers, including the Mercedes-Benz plant located in Vance.

According to federal law, employees have the right to seek unionization if thirty percent of them sign union authorization cards at a particular workplace. According to the UAW, it calls for elections when it receives 70% of the vote in favor of unionization at a particular workplace.

Refusing to provide incentives.

On Friday, Ivey officially ratified SB231. The new legislation, which was approved by the Alabama Legislature last week, means that if a company chooses to voluntarily recognize a union or if the union chooses not to hold secret ballots during an election, the state will not be able to offer the company financial incentives to attract it to Alabama.

Georgia and Tennessee have passed legislation along similar lines.

As per the new law, a Jan. The deadline for withdrawing financial rewards in the event that a business embraces a union is January 1, 2025.

Mercedes-Benz is not willingly endorsing the unionization attempt, and according to national media reports, corporate opposition to the effort is far more potent in Alabama than it was in Chattanooga, Tennessee. last month. Voting with 73 percent of the vote, workers at a Volkswagen plant decided to join the UAW after two prior unsuccessful attempts that date back to 2014. This vote marked the first time that employees at a Southern auto plant had cast a ballot in a union election since the 1940s.

The National Labor Relations Board, which oversees union elections whenever a business refuses to voluntarily acknowledge unionizing efforts, is in charge of organizing the secret ballot election. The NLRB does not get involved in company-sponsored voluntary unionization efforts, which have become more prevalent in recent years.

About the recently passed Alabama law, a Mercedes-Benz representative declined to comment. In 1993, the state offered the business a $253 million package of economic incentives to entice it to Alabama.

An official from Mercedes-Benz stated as follows: “MBUSI fully respects the decision made by our Team Members to form a union. We also look forward to taking part in the election process to guarantee that each Team Member gets the information they need to make an informed decision and has the opportunity to cast their own secret ballot vote. “.

UAW officials chose not to respond.

Improving unions or causing harm?

Republicans referred to SB231 as “harmless” during last week’s Alabama House floor debate, but they also said it was a means of making sure that pro-union campaigns don’t scare off employees.

Rep. Last week, Scott Stadthagen, a Republican from Hartselle, stated that SB231 was not intended to thwart attempts at unionization, but rather to shield individuals such as factory workers who are single mothers from being threatened by men who would support unionization.

Lawmakers who lean Democratic said that the bill highlighted efforts by Republicans in Alabama to thwart unionization.

Alabama is one of the twenty-seven “right-to-work” states where workers are free to choose not to join a union. Voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 that guarantees employees in Alabama cannot be forced to join labor unions or pay dues, even if their employer is a member, solidifying the state’s opposition to unionization.

Rep. expressed concern that the National Labor Relations Board is being forced to participate in every election. Curtis Travis, Tuscaloosa, D.

According to Ivey, SB231 makes sure that “every vote is counted” and “further protects our Alabama jobs.”. “.

Ivey declared, “My message is clear: I am protecting our jobs and standing up for Alabamans.”. “This Detroit menace will not stop us from moving forward, from having hope, or from seeing our people prosper. “.

The state’s union membership is gradually rising, though it is still below the national average, which coincides with the signing of SB231. Alabama had 156,000 union members in 2023, or 7.5% of the workforce, up from a historic low of 5.19% in 2021 and 7.22% in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 10% is the national average. With South Carolina having the lowest participation rate at 2.3%, eleven other states had union membership rates below 5%.

During a covert mail-in election in 2021, thousands of hourly workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer voted almost two to one against unionization, marking the last significant attempt at unionization at an Alabama manufacturing plant.

It is anticipated that the UAW vote will continue through Friday. On Friday, vote totals are also anticipated to be made public.

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