Former Clinton Administration Secretary of Labor Robert Reich is accusing Mercedes Benz of union busting activities in the runup to this week’s vote on the United Auto Workers. In a post on X (formally known as twitter) Reich wrote, "Mercedes mgmt [management] is pulling out union-busting tricks to stop Alabama workers from unionizing,"

In his response to a story by the British newspaper The Guardian, Reich used a UAW press release to compare standard worker salaries to company executives, “What they're not telling workers is that it would take two years working at top pay to earn what an exec makes in a week. Solidarity with workers fighting for a bigger piece of the pie."

in that press release issued this week the UAW claimed Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius received a pay increase of 80 percent in 2023.

"The entire Mercedes management board chose to give themselves a 78 percent pay increase last year. That's over $27 million in raises for only eight people," the UAW said. "It would take a production worker at top pay two years to earn what a Mercedes executive earns in just one week."

According to the information website Indeed the average annual salary for a production worker at the Tuscaloosa County plant is $49,000. Entry level positions start at $29,981 per year.

The website lists the average Mercedes-Benz USA executive compensation at $227,025, or $109 per hour. Experts say that is in line with compensation at most other major corporations.  Mercedes corporate officers in Germany, however, earn in the millions annually.

Mercedes-Benz has repeatedly denied interfering or retaliating against employees, and dismissed allegations lodged against it as being without merit. The company claims it has done nothing more than what is allowed by law to oppose unionization.

One worker at the Alabama plant, Rick Webster, told The Guardian that in the run-up to the vote, he and his colleagues had been inundated with texts, emails, messages and meetings in an attempt to persuade them to vote against joining the UAW.

According to the National Labor Relations Act employers have the right to share their philosophy about unions and employees unionizing. Company leaders can communicate in many ways, including mailed notices, workplace posters, group meetings, and digital tools like apps, emails, instant messaging, videos, video conferencing, podcasts, and an employee-facing website.

"Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) fully respects our Team Members’ choice whether to unionize and we look forward to participating in the election process to ensure every Team Member has a chance to cast their own secret-ballot vote, as well as having access to the information necessary to make an informed choice," a company spokesperson stated last week.

If you read former secretary Reich’s obviously well financed X social media site, you might think you were on a union site. In many of his posts, with elaborate special effects, he vociferously extolls the positives of unions and excoriates those who are not pro-union.

It is part of the hardball campaign both sides are playing in an attempt to win the ongoing balloting by workers.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. (MBUSI) in Vance is the production location for the GLE-, GLS-, GLE Coupe, EQS-, EQE-, and the Mercedes-Maybach GLE and EQS Sport Utility Vehicles. The plant has built more than 4 million vehicles in its nearly 30 years of production according to company publicity.

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