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Auto struggles may signal union openings for Alabama!

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-05-08 03:34 PM
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Auto struggles may signal union openings for Alabama!

Associated Press - October 5, 2008 3:44 PM ET

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Unions haven't had much luck getting their feet in the door to Alabama's automotive industry during boom times dating to the mid-1990s when the first vehicles started rolling off state assembly lines.

The lack of union activity in Alabama's auto industry has been a key selling point for the state when courting new business in the sector, which supports more than 134,000 jobs and a $5.2 billion annual payroll.

But some wonder whether that could change now that those same plants are struggling amid an industrywide sales slump that has forced production cutbacks and a loss of hours for workers.

Mercedes-Benz and Honda, which have slashed output at their respective factories in Vance and Lincoln, have been the target of union organizing efforts over the years.

A representative of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers recently returned to Vance for a meeting with Mercedes employees and says he hopes to find a more receptive audience.

Mercedes spokeswoman Felyicia Jerald says union decisions are up to employees, and the company feels employees are informed enough to make a responsible decision.

Officials with the United Auto Workers have been quiet about union organizing activities at Mercedes and Honda. Efforts to reach the union last week were unsuccessful.

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