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Federal Appeals Court Affirms Mercedes-Benz Employees’ Right to Organize in Alabama


VANCE, Ala. — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit today upheld a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that determined Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) violated federal labor law in Tuscaloosa County, Ala.

The federal court order affirmed a November 2014 decision by the NLRB, which ruled that MBUSI employees are free to solicit other employees — inside the plant, but not on working time — in order to form a union. At that time, the NLRB ordered MBUSI to inform employees that it had violated federal labor law and also to tell employees that they are free to “form, join or assist a union.”

MBUSI appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals. The appeals court affirmed that MBUSI employees are free to solicit other employees, but only in certain areas of the plant. The court instructed the NLRB to slightly modify its original decision.

Members of the UAW local union at MBUSI hailed today’s federal court order as a positive development. They urged MBUSI to abide by U.S. law as well as parent company Daimler AG’s global Principles of Social Responsibility, a 2002 compact between management and labor in which Daimler said it “acknowledges the human right to form trade unions” and “respects the right to collective bargaining.”

“MBUSI has spent years interfering with its employees’ rights to organize,” said George Jones, president of UAW Local 112. “It’s overdue time for the company to abide by federal law and live up to Daimler’s globally respected Principles of Social Responsibility.”

The MBUSI plant in Alabama is the only Daimler plant in the world that does not offer employee representation, a situation that has drawn criticism from the Daimler World Employee Committee and the German automotive trade union IG Metall.

In 2014, MBUSI employees formed Local 112 to represent any interested employees who join as members. The local union, with encouragement and support from the Daimler World Employee Committee and IG Metall, is seeking recognition from MBUSI.

Download the U.S. Court of Appeals order regarding MBUSI:

Distribution channels: Automotive