Nissan, UAW agree on union vote at south­ern US auto plant

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

The United Auto Work­ers and Nissan said Mon­day that they reached an agree­ment to let work­ers at a Nissan plant in the south­ern state of Mis­sis­sippi to vote on whether to union­ize.

Con­tro­versy over union­iza­tion at the largely African-Amer­i­can plant in the town of Can­ton, which opened in 2003 and em­ploys 6,400 peo­ple, has raged for years. In May the UAW la­bor union filed a com­plaint with the fed­eral Na­tional La­bor Re­la­tions Board claim­ing that Nissan was us­ing de­ter­rence tac­tics against work­ers who showed signs of union­iz­ing.

“We do not be­lieve that UAW rep­re­sen­ta­tion is in the best in­ter­est of Nissan Can­ton and the peo­ple who work here,” Nissan said in a state­ment.

“How­ever, it is ul­ti­mately up to the em­ploy­ees to de­cide.” The NLRB will su­per­vise the Au­gust 3-4 vote, the UAW said. “Over the past six days, Nissan has made it abun­dantly clear that it does

not re­spect its Mis­sis­sippi em­ploy­ees’ rights to vote in a free and fair elec­tion,” UAW of­fi­cial Gary Cas­teel said in a state­ment. Nissan “is run­ning one of the most ag­gres­sive anti-worker cam­paigns that we’ve seen in mod­ern US his­tory,” Cas­teel claimed.

Many man­u­fac­tur­ers, par­tic­u­larly au­tomak­ers, have set up plants in the US south where unions are not as in­grained in the so­cial fab­ric.

In March, one-time US pres­i­den­tial con­tender Bernie San­ders spoke in fa­vor of union­iza­tion in Can­ton in an ap­pear­ance that dou­bled as Demo­cratic Party out­reach.

San­ders was ac­com­pa­nied by ac­tor Danny Glover and of­fi­cials from the NAACP, the largest African-Amer­i­can ad­vo­cacy group in the United States.

Or­ga­niz­ers de­manded that the com­pany halt what they said was “on­go­ing ha­rass­ment of African-Amer­i­can work­ers who are or­ga­niz­ing to form a union.” They al­lege that Nissan threat­ened to il­le­gally shut down the fa­cil­ity and ter­mi­nate em­ploy­ment if work­ers union­ized, and un­law­fully in­ter­ro­gated work­ers.— AFP

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