UAW vote at Nissan set for Aug 3-4; Union files more labor law-breaking charges
UAW President Dennis Williams at a rally near the Nissan plant in Canton Mississippi. | Rogelio V. Solis/AP

CANTON, Miss.— The United Auto Workers and Nissan agreed to set the union recognition vote at the “transplant” automaker’s Canton, Miss., plant for August 3-4, UAW said.

But just because the two sides agreed on a date doesn’t mean Nissan will stay neutral as UAW campaigns to convince a majority of the 4,000 eligible workers there to join the union.

As a matter of fact, UAW added, it’s had to file more unfair labor practice charges against Nissan with the National Labor Relations Board.

The Canton vote is an important part of UAW’s campaign to unionize the “transplant” auto plants in the anti-union South. Both foreign and domestic automakers set up huge plants in Dixie in recent decades to escape worker activism, unions and higher wages.

The firms have also pitted white workers against African-Americans in a divide-and-conquer strategy to blunt and ultimately stop union organizing drives in the South. Those tactics have yet to obviously surface in Canton, but the organizing drive among the majority-minority workforce there has attracted wide civil rights and community support.

After UAW formally filed for the election on July 11, workers told UAW of “widespread pressure by company supervisors in one-on-one meetings and in videos broadcast inside the Canton plant” to oppose the union.

Since Nissan has stated worldwide principles of company neutrality in organizing drives – plus the company’s CEO last year told the French National Assembly that it does not oppose employee representation in Mississippi—UAW will file more charges with the NLRB, said union Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel.

Prior unfair labor practice charges against Nissan and a temp firm it uses to hire some Canton workers – at far lower wages with no benefits – include illegal coercion and intimidation of workers, illegal firing threats and illegal threats to close the plant.

“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,” Casteel said. “In fact, the company is running one of the most aggressive anti-worker campaigns that we’ve seen in modern U.S. history.

“We call on Nissan to immediately respond to demands by civil rights leaders in Mississippi to meet with employee representatives in order to discuss conditions for achieving neutrality and ensuring that Nissan employees in Canton can vote on a local union in a free and fair election,” Casteel said.



Press Associates Union News Service provides national coverage of news affecting workers, including activism, politics, economics, legislation in Congress and actions by the White House, federal agencies and the courts that affect working people. Mark Gruenberg is Editor in chief and owner of Press Associates Union News Service, Washington, D.C.