Mercedes-Benz US-International is in violation of federal labor law for prohibiting employees from organizing inside the Tuscaloosa County, Ala., plant when they are off the clock, an appeals court ruled on Monday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld a 2014 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that Mercedes employees are free to solicit other employees to join the UAW Local 112 on the plant site.
The court, however, did instruct the NLRB to modify its original decision to ensure that employees do their union organizing in areas of the plant that do not disrupt the production line.
“MBUSI has spent years interfering with its employees’ rights to organize,” said George Jones, president of UAW Local 112, in a statement. “It’s overdue time for the company to abide by federal law and live up to Daimler’s globally respected Principles of Social Responsibility.”
Daimler, Mercedes-Benz's parent company, said in a statement that it was pleased that the Eleventh Circuit "determined that MBUSI’s policy on when and where documents can be distributed is a reasonable application to ensure a safe and positive work environment.
"MBUSI believes this outcome will continue to provide a safe work environment that respects the rights of all of its Team Members. We have enjoyed 20 years of success in Alabama because of the foundation our Team Members helped us put in place from the start. We believe the culture we have established is our best path forward for a successful future."
Alabama employees formed Local 112 in 2014 and are seeking union recognition from Mercedes-Benz.
This story has been updated to add the response from Daimler.