4/10 Mercedes Workers File For Union Election; The State Of Child Labor

April 10, 2024

It’s Hump Day! Sam and Emma speak with Jeremy Kimbrell, a measurement machine operator at the  Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama and member of the volunteer organizing committee at the plant, to discuss the plant’s recent decision to file for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), to join the United Auto Workers (UAW). Then, they speak with Terri Gerstein, director of the Wagner Labor Initiative at New York University, to discuss the recent efforts in different states to weaken or strengthen child labor laws. First, Sam and Emma run through updates on Arizona’s major State Supreme Court decision, Biden’s rhetorical and policy developments on Israel, inflation, immigration policy, EPA, ESDA, and FAA operations, and the candidacies of RFK and Cornel West, before diving a little deeper into Arizona’s Supreme Court decision reverting the state’s reproductive policy to an 1864 law. Jeremy Kimbrell then joins, diving right into his history working at Mercedes’ Alabama plant of around 5,000, and the progressive attempts to organize one of two (the other being in South Carolina) Mercedes plans not represented by a collective bargaining agreement, with the major revelations at the UAW in the wake of COVID coming about at the perfect time, and allowing the plant to begin their unionization efforts with the backing of a major union. After tackling the major emphasis on a democratic organizing process, Kimbrell steps back to parse through the recent unfair labor practice filings the plant has filed against Mercedes both domestically, and in German courts, and how they could play into the ongoing unionization process. Terri Gerstein then walks Sam and Emma through the role of child labor law in the US, largely setting stronger safety and work regulations for child labor on both the federal and state levels, and what ongoing attacks from the right are doing to undermine these regulations, including gutting permit requirements and redefining work to allow kids to work in previously-considered-hazardous workplaces. After looking at the particular roles of “fissured workplaces,” and right-wing state legislatures in worsening this issue, wrapping up the interview by tackling the additional issue of the US’ incredibly weak mechanisms of labor enforcement and accountability, and how we can start to change that.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma dive deep into the theocratic GOP’s ongoing attack on abortion, from Arizona legislators praying on the state seal to debates and defenses of Trump’s pivot to the “moderate” position of “let the states outlaw it,” before touching on the months late Democratic backlash to Israel’s ongoing genocide. Peter from California dives into the US relationship to antisemitism (and a new bill to enforce it), Kevin McCarthy goes on the offensive against his own pedophilic petard, and Teagan from Seattle updates MR on the dangers of a new British trans healthcare report. James from Long Island gives a worrying update on Nassau’s Bruce Blakeman, and Stephen Crowder and co. share their thoughts on women’s freedoms, plus, your calls and IMs!

Find out more about the Vance, Alabama Mercedes’s plant election filing here: https://uaw.org/mercedes-benz-workers-in-alabama-file-for-union-election-as-southern-autoworkers-stand-up-to-join-the-uaw/

Find out more about the Wagner Labor Initiative here: https://wagner.nyu.edu/impact/initiatives/labor-Initiative

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