UAW embroiled in a fight
Anti-union campaign from Nissan Motor Company
The United Auto Workers faces a strong anti-union campaign from Nissan Motor Co. as it tries to gain a foothold in the union-averse South by organizing workers at the Japanese automaker’s Mississippi plant.
As many as 4,000 workers will vote Aug. 3 and Aug. 4 at the vehicle assembly plant in Canton, just north of Jackson. The union promises it would help negotiate better working conditions, benefits and wages at the plant. However, managers warn that the UAW will ultimately hurt both the company and the workers.
Union supporters tried to pressure Nissan for years into staying neutral, or at least toning down its anti-union stance. But managers, while saying workers get to decide, are pushing against the UAW. The company is broadcasting anti-union videos inside the plant, and the UAW says supervisors are pulling workers into private meetings to gauge UAW support and persuade workers against unionizing.
The UAW has tried to bolster support among the majorityAfrican American workforce by linking union support to civil rights, but even union supporters admit management’s message is causing some pro-UAW workers to waver.
“People who were for the union are now undecided,” said Shanta Butler, a union supporter.
The stakes are high. The UAW has never organized an entire foreign-owned auto plant in the South, although it did win an election among maintenance technicians at a Volkswagen AG plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Foreign automakers came South in part to avoid unions, and most benefit from lower labour costs.