TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - An administrative law judge has ruled that Mercedes-Benz U.S. International violated federal labor law in its dealings with employees interested in forming a union.
The United Auto Workers and employee Kirk Garner accused Mercedes managers of unfair labor practices by blocking efforts by pro-union employees to distribute information about the union at the Vance plant. Attorneys for Mercedes said the company never infringed on any worker’s rights.
Administrative Law Judge Keltner Locke wrote in his ruling Thursday that employees can approach other workers about labor union matters on company grounds so long as they are not on working time. He ordered the company to change rules in its employee handbook governing the solicitation and distribution of materials at the facility.
Mercedes told The Tuscaloosa News (https://bit.ly/1mQf0Zh ) in a written statement it does not agree with aspects of the ruling and is evaluating its next steps. Each side has 28 days to appeal the ruling to the National Labor Relations Board.
“We are especially pleased that the judge found no credible evidence of threats or harassment,” the company said. “The judge also stated that MBUSI truly sought to be neutral at all times and not to interfere with team members.”
According to testimony in April, a Mercedes supervisor told workers they could not solicit for a union in the atrium, an area where workers commonly gather before their shifts and during breaks. The company subsequently rescinded that rule.
Locke ordered Mercedes to post a notice to its employees explaining the NLRB has found the company had violated labor law. The notice will explain the company will not prohibit employees who are not on their employer’s time from distributing literature, discussing unions or other matters relating to wages, hours, terms and conditions of employment.
Information from: The Tuscaloosa News, https://www.tuscaloosanews.com
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