United Auto Workers (UAW) officials announced on Wednesday that 30% of the Mercedes-Benz plant's workforce in Vance near Tuscaloosa have signed union authorization cards.

According to UAW, the 30% threshold is when workers go public that they're "on track to unionize your workplace."

UAW officials said in a news release Mercedes made $156 billion in total profits over the last decade. In the last three years, their profits grew 200% over the previous three years. From 2020 to 2023, the average price of Mercedes vehicles in the United States jumped 31% even as pay for Mercedes' U.S. workers stagnated.

"In the past, people didn't know if we had a pathway forward here," said Jeremy Kimbrell, a measurement machine operator who has worked at Mercedes since 1999. "Now everybody's coming together and seeing what the pathway is, and it's through the union. When we get our union in here, I think people will once again look at Mercedes and say, it's not just another job, it's a career job. It's a job where generations will want to come and work. And that'll spread out to the suppliers and then to the broader area."

A spokesperson for Mercedes didn't immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday afternoon.

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.

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

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