Appeals Court Affirms Right to Organize at Mercedes-Benz

autoInformed.com on Mercedes-Benz Labor IssuesThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has upheld a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, aka NLRB, that says Mercedes-Benz U.S. International violated federal labor law in Tuscaloosa County, AL.  The decision say that Mercedes violated workers’ right to organize.  The federal court order affirmed a November 2014 NLRB ruling that said MBUSI employees are free to solicit other employees – inside the plant, but not on working time –  to form a union. At that time, the NLRB ordered MBUSI to inform employees that it had violated federal labor laws and also to tell them that they are free to “form, join or assist a union.”

The latest union busting dispute over the right to organize comes at a time when IndustriALL*, a growing global coalition of unions representing 50 million members, elected Jörg Hofmann from Germany as President. Hofmann comes from the powerful German metalworkers’ trade union IG Metall – dealing with Daimler Benz on its home turf –  where he is also President.

Any German automaker operating in the “right to work for less” U.S. south now sees the ante’ and call rise significantly in the right to organize non-union card game. Add what looks to be an impending disaster for anti-labor Republicans in the upcoming U.S. presidential race, and AutoInformed opines that labor is about to make American great again, not by the efforts of non-taxpaying, failed-businessman Trump. Globally, the right to organize is also bolstered.

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.

“Multinational companies are the winners of globalization while workers in many countries count among the losers. Employers around the world demand flexibility through temporary and zero-hour contracts but refuse to give security and stability in return. This we cannot and will not accept,” said Jörg Hoffman.

In the Mercedes matter, 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 at MBUSI hailed the 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. This is a 2002 compact between management and labor where 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 the time for the company to abide by federal law and live up to Daimler’s globally respected Principles of Social Responsibility.”

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.

AutoInformed.com on Labor Issues

*IndustriALL has more than 600 trade union affiliates from 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing industries. Founded in June 2012, it has become a new force in “global solidarity taking up the fight for better working conditions and trade union rights around the world.”

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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