Workers at the Nissan Motor Company’s plant in Canton, Mississippi, voted nearly 2 to 1 against union representation, following a hard-fought organizing drive marked by accusations that Nissan used illegal tactics to thwart the effort. The loss is a major defeat for the United Auto Workers after a decade-long campaign to bring the plant’s workers into the union.
The UAW accused Nissan of illegally threatening workers with the closure of their plant or the loss of their jobs if they voted in favor of unionization. Though Nissan denies the allegation, a number of complaints lodged by the National Labor Relations Board support the UAW’s case.
Days before the vote, the NLRB charged Nissan with violating the rights of its employees at the Mississippi plant by engaging in anti-union activities. The UAW has since filed charges with the NLRB claiming that Nissan “conducted repeated captive audience meetings” and played “virtually nonstop anti-union videos” in the run-up to the election.
“Perhaps recognizing they couldn’t keep their workers from joining our union based on the facts, Nissan and its anti-worker allies ran a vicious campaign against its own workforce that was comprised of intense scare tactics, misinformation and intimidation,” said UAW President Dennis Williams.
The failure to organize the Nissan plant marks another setback in the union’s long struggle to organize a major automaker’s plant in the South and highlights the challenges facing the labor movement in the region.
Reuters, Aug. 5
USA Today, Aug. 1