The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce is probing whether the Biden administration tried to influence the United Auto Workers (UAW) election outcome at two Mercedes-Benz plants in Alabama in May.

In a May National Labor Relations Board private election, 56% of workers voted against joining the union. The final tally showed 2,045 workers voting for joining and 2,642 voting against joining UAW.

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said in a recent letter to Jake Sullivan, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, that the Biden administration took actions during the election that appear “to be an attempt to impact the outcome” of the UAW election in May at two Mercedes-Benz plants in Alabama.

“On May 17, Mercedes-Benz employees at a plant in Vance, Alabama, voted not to join the United Auto Workers (UAW). In this election, 56 percent of the workers cast their ballots against UAW membership, with more than 90 percent of eligible workers voting in the election. Simultaneously, the UAW became the first U.S. union to file charges using a new German supply chain law,” Foxx said. “The Committee on Education and the Workforce (Committee) is concerned about recent reports of unusual and inappropriate communications between you and German government officials in what appears to be an attempt to impact the outcome of this election. On April 3, the UAW filed charges in Germany alleging that Mercedes-Benz in Alabama violated the German Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains (Supply Chain Act). The Supply Chain Act went into effect in Germany on January 1, 2023, and can impose substantial penalties on businesses. The UAW asserted that Mercedes-Benz could be subject to “billions in penalties, including significant fines and bans on government contracts,” if it is found in violation of this law.”

Foxx continued, “On May 6, a news report stated that U.S. government officials had a phone call with German government officials and raised concerns over the Mercedes-Benz representation election in Alabama.” 

“This call reportedly included discussion of the UAW’s unfair labor practice charges filed with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Mercedes-Benz. A later report regarding the call also indicated that you prodded Germany to examine the UAW’s allegations against Mercedes-Benz at the direct request of UAW President Shawn Fain,” Foxx said. “On May 16, the UAW announced that the German government was investigating Mercedes-Benz as a result of charges filed by the UAW in Germany. This announcement came as voting was ongoing in the Mercedes-Benz union representation election in Alabama. It appears the Biden administration, through your actions, sought to put its thumb on the scale to benefit the UAW as the Mercedes-Benz election in Alabama was pending. It also suggests the UAW sought to use your influence and the White House’s bully pulpit to impact a union representation election.”

Uaw Foxx Letter by Caleb Taylor on Scribd

UAW is asking the National Labor Relations Board to order another new union vote at the two Mercedes-Benz plants. The UAW says Mercedes-Benz violated labor laws to suppress support for the union.

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