A majority of workers at Mercedes-Benz's largest plant in the United States in Vance have signed union cards in support of joining the UAW, the union announced on Tuesday.

The announcement marks another milestone victory of the UAW over the state's political and business leadership so far. A UAW unionization push is also underway at Montgomery's Hyundai plant. 

In a video announcement, Mercedes worker Jeremy Kimbrell, surrounded by his Mercedes coworkers, announced that "a majority of our coworkers at Mercedes here in Alabama have signed our union cards and are ready to win our union and a better life with the UAW."

Kimbrell detailed several of the driving forces behind the workers' campaign to join the UAW, including workers going many years without meaningful raises, a two-tier wage system and the abuse of temporary workers. 

"There comes a time when enough is enough," Kimbrell said. "Now is that time. We know what the company, what the politicians, and what their multi-millionaire buddies will say. They'll say now is not the right time. Or that this is not the right way. But here's the thing. This is our decision. It's our life. It's our community. These are our families. It's up to us."

While the UAW announcement was released on Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey told Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce members, "UAW is targeting one of Alabama's homegrown crown jewel industries: automotive manufacturing. My message is clear though: I'm standing up for Alabamians and protecting our jobs." 

"Hyundai here in Montgomery is one of our state's finest, world class OEMs. Here's the thing: since production began in 2005, Hyundai has been famous for its transformation of the Montgomery community. With a high school degree, folks are able to work good jobs at HMMA and make a good wage. Hyundai's growth here and commitment to Montgomery has outdone initial projections. It now represents a $1.8 billion investment and created some 4,000 jobs. On top of the good jobs and good economic numbers, they're just plain good neighbors here in our city of Montgomery," she added. "We can not let this out-of-state interest group take away the hope and prosperity of our folks. As I've said before, I'll always proudly support great Alabama employers and the best employees in the world. I applaud Hyundai, Montgomery Chamber, and our local leaders here for all your efforts in protecting these good Alabama jobs. We need your efforts to serve as a model to other local areas grappling with this threat for control. Alabamians work harder than anyone. We make the best automobiles in the world and we must not let UAW tell us any different."

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email caleb.taylor@1819News.com.

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