DETROIT (Reuters) -- The UAW said today it will press managers of the Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Alabama to respect the right of workers to discuss organizing a local union while on the factory floor.
Last week, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Mercedes-Benz U.S. International must rescind a rule in its employee handbook prohibiting workers from talking about a union in work areas while not on work time.
"It's unfortunate that Mercedes-Benz had to be ordered to simply allow workers to discuss their right to organize," said Kirk Garner, a longtime Mercedes worker. He is also a member of UAW Local 112, established in October, and served as a witness in the NLRB case.
Mercedes-Benz, in a statement later Monday, said the company has been and remains neutral on the issue of unionization "with the decision left to our team members."
It also said an older version of the employee handbook "regarding rules for solicitation ... has been addressed in the 2014 handbook recently distributed to team members."
The UAW said it wants Mercedes to follow the policy it has for plants outside the U.S. which "acknowledges the human right to form trade unions" and "respects the right of collective bargaining."
The Alabama factory is Daimler's only one worldwide that does not offer employee representation.
Last summer, an administrative law judge issued a ruling that was for the most part affirmed by the NLRB last Wednesday.
There are about 2,500 full-time and 1,000 temporary workers at the plant.
The UAW has been trying to organize workers at several foreign-owned plants in the South, including Volkswagen AG's plant in Chattanooga and the Nissan Motor Co. plants in Canton, Miss., and in Smyrna, Tenn.