A new unionization push by the United Auto Workers (UAW) at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance shows "the Alabama model for economic success is under attack," according to Gov. Kay Ivey.
UAW announced on Wednesday that 30% of the plant's workforce have signed union authorization cards.
In response, Ivey said in a statement, "Alabama has become a national leader in automotive manufacturing, and all this was achieved without a unionized workforce. In other words, our success has been home grown — done the Alabama way."
"Unfortunately, the Alabama model for economic success is under attack. A national labor union, the United Automotive Workers (UAW), is ramping up efforts to target non-union automakers throughout the United States, including ours here in Alabama," Ivey said. "Make no mistake about it: These are out-of-state special interest groups, and their special interests do not include Alabama or the men and women earning a career in Alabama's automotive industry. As governor, my special interest is the well-being of our great state and each of the 5 million Alabamians who live here, who have an opportunity to succeed here and can be proud to raise a family here. I will always stand strong for our hardworking men and women, as well as our world-class employers. When Alabamians are successful, our state is successful."
Alabama is a right-to-work state. Unionization efforts by employees at a nearby Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer failed multiple times in previous years. Nearly 200 workers at Mercedes supplier ZF Chassis Systems in Tuscaloosa went on strike for about a month in September and October.
Mercedes-Benz chose Alabama for the site of its first American manufacturing facility in 1993.
"Alabama has a proud industrial past. Alabama is a leader in innovation and opportunity. It is a state where employers want to do business because they know they can succeed. And Alabama is a state that has proven it can be a worldwide leader in automotive manufacturing," Ivey said. "Alabama embraced a watershed moment in 1993, and we may soon face another watershed decision when the UAW asks nearly 50,000 Alabamians: Do you want continued opportunity and success the Alabama way? Or do want out-of-state special interests telling Alabama how to do business?
Ivey continued, "For me, the choice is clear. I stand by our proven track record of success. That is why I will always proudly support the great Alabama employers and the best employees in the world. That is why I will continue to make education, workforce development and economic development my top priorities. Alabamians work harder than anyone, we make the best automobiles in the world, and we must not let UAW tell us differently."
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email [email protected].
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.