Nissan Mississippi workers vote heavily against unionization


Nissan factory workers in MS this week overwhelmingly struck down a bid to join the United Auto Workers union, capping a years-long campaign that drew national attention.

Workers at the facility in Canton voted almost two-to-one against joining the UAW, Nissan spokesman Paul Barage said in an email. They have rejected the UAW and chosen to self-represent, continuing the direct relationship they enjoy with the company, " the company said in a statement released late last night.

Veteran workers at the plant get paid $26 per hour, typically only a few dollars less than peers represented by the union at the major United States automakers, and well above the median wage in Mississippi.

The Japanese auto giant also expressed expectation that the UAW would respect the worker's decision and cease its efforts to divide the Nissan family.

The union filed seven new charges with the National Labor Relations Board just before polls closed on Friday alleging that Nissan had broken federal labor laws during the campaign.

"The result of the election was a setback for these workers, the UAW and working Americans everywhere, but in no way should it be considered a defeat", UAW president Dennis Williams said in a statement. The charges could result in a new campaign and election, but Nissan defended the validity of the campaign and final vote. Previously, workers at a Nissan plant in Tennessee voted against joining the union by significant margins in 1989 and 2001.

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"If they get up there at Nissan they will force Nissan out of MS, and you at Nissan better listen because you were out there hauling corn and picking cotton and ploughing fields or digging ditches and you are going to go right back to it because the Union is not going to take care of you", a man who has not been identified was heard saying on a local radio station.

Nissan spokeswoman Bajaj said the company lived up to its obligations in providing the list.

Nissan said the victory over the UAW was a sign of the strength of non-unionised factories in the South.

A 2015 study by the Center for Automotive Research found that Nissan paid an average of US$44 an hour in pay and benefits, toward the low end of all automakers.

"On behalf of the 1.4 million members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, we support the fearless Canton workers who have persisted in their efforts to form a union despite fierce opposition from their employer", said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President.