The IAM won a key legal battle this week in the fight to overcome anti-union activities by Mercedes-Benz officials at the automaker’s assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, AL.
In a ruling hailed as an important victory for Mercedes’ workers and IAM organizers, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) agreed with an IAM complaint charging Mercedes-Benz with violating the federal law that bars employers from “interfering with, restraining or coercing employees” seeking to organize a union or bargain collectively with an employer.
In his ruling, NLRB Regional Director Martin A. Arlook determined that Mercedes maintained a policy and practice of closely monitoring the conversations of employees, during work time, who support the IAM. Arlook also said the surveillance was intended to discourage other employees from engaging in union activities.
“From the beginning of our organizing drive, Mercedes officials said publicly they would remain neutral on the subject of union representation at the Alabama facility,” said GLR Don Barker. “Their actions inside the plant, however, have been calculated to discourage and intimidate employees from signing authorization cards.”
Workers at Mercedes’ only North American plant approached the IAM earlier this year after determining that an IAM contract would be their best protection against changes roiling the U.S. auto industry.