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UAW boss attacks Governor Ivey, BCA at Mercedes-Benz pro-union rally in Alabama

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain showed up in Coaling, Alabama on Sunday to rally supporters and pitch union membership in an ongoing effort by his group to unionize Mercedes-Benz U.S. International employees in Alabama.

As the first major automotive manufacturing facility to break ground in the state, the 1993 Mercedes-Benz development began a catalyst for the automotive manufacturing powerhouse Alabama has become today.

Fain delivered a speech to several dozen attendees on Sunday, some of which were presumably Mercedes employees, amid reports that half of the total workers at the plant have signed union cards.

“You are in spitting distance of a life-changing victory. That’s because all of you are coming together with your coworkers to do the work of organizing your workplace,” Fain said.

“And the company knows it too. That’s why Mercedes is pulling out every trick in the book to instill fear, uncertainty, and division. To scare people off of standing up for a better life.”

“The company, the Governor, and the Business Council are trying to make you afraid to stand up, because you are so close to realizing a life many thought wasn’t possible. Mercedes is using fear, uncertainty, and division because they are afraid. Mercedes is afraid of you having a voice in your work life. Mercedes is afraid of sharing any control over your work lives,” Fain said.

The UAW boss told workers to stand up and fight back against their employer. He added that the situation unfolding at Mercedes is part of a broader effort to exert union “muscle” into Alabama.

“And it’s not just about the vote. True victory is not just winning a vote. We want to win big on the day of the election, but we also need to build that organizing muscle, that unity, and that determination to win big in a union contract,” he told the crowd.

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State leaders, including Governor Kay Ivey, have expressed urgent opposition to UAW’s efforts. Fain’s explicit hostility toward Mercedes-Benz, Ivey and the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) are in response to a widespread effort to communicate to workers the negative consequences unions can wreak in both the economy of the states they are involved, and even the homes of the members they organize.

In January, BCA launched the campaign “Alabama Strong” in addition to a call to action message from their President and CEO Helena Duncan.

“Newspaper headlines are often filled with stories about the “decline of Detroit” as portions of the city famous for automotive manufacturing now look like Wall Street on Black Tuesday in 1929. Jobs are scarce, opportunities are few, and valid hopes for a return to its glory days as an economic center are rare,” Duncan wrote.

“Much of the decay that exists in the “Motor City” today results from untenable demands that the UAW placed on its automobile manufacturers, an unwise move that sent untold numbers of jobs to right-to-work states like ours and crippled a once great metropolis.”

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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