The United Automobile Workers (UAW) unionization push into Alabama is an attempt to "cash in on the gains of southern workers," according to Gov. Kay Ivey.

United Automobile Workers (UAW) president Shawn Fain met with workers at a gathering in Coaling on Sunday, a few weeks after the union announced a majority of employees at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance had signed up to join the union.

"Mercedes is afraid of paying you the wages and benefits you deserve for the massive profits your work, your sacrifice, your blood, and your sweat create. You are an at-will employee, you have no rights, and management has all the control. It's time to change that," Fain said on Sunday.

UAW has made progress in the traditionally right-to-work South in recent months. Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga are scheduled to vote in April on whether they want UAW representation. No such elections have been scheduled in Alabama yet, but UAW has announced efforts to sign up employees at Mercedes-Benz's plant in Vance and Hyundai's plant in Montgomery.

"The UAW president appears to be living in the past with his references to the South during the Great Depression," Ivey told 1819 News on Tuesday. "In case he hasn't noticed, it's 2024, and many folks from other parts of the country are choosing to move south, including Alabama, where they can enjoy a better quality of life. Auto manufacturing jobs have also moved south.Therefore, it's not surprising the UAW now wants to cash in on the gains of southern workers."

Workers at Mercedes-Benz's plant in Vance also filed multiple federal charges with the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday in "response to the company's aggressive and illegal union-busting," according to a UAW spokesperson. 

"Workers are requesting an injunction to put an end to the company's retaliation against workers for standing up for their rights at work," a UAW spokesperson said on Tuesday.

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