For roughly a decade, the United Auto Workers Labor Union has been trying to organize a Nissan Motor Co plant in Mississippi, but with great resistance. Senator Bernie Sanders, though, has said he will personally deliver a letter to the automaker, requesting they drop their opposition to the union.
The United Auto Workers’ decade-long drive to organize a Nissan Motor Co. plant has found a supporter in Senator Bernie Sanders, who plans to hand-deliver a letter urging the automaker to drop its opposition to the union at the Mississippi site. The anti-union pressures they face at this plant might just be the worst of any workplace across the country.
In a telephone interview, Friday, Sanders commented, “These workers have shown incredible courage in standing up and fighting back, and they deserve my support — and I think they deserve support from progressives all across this country.”
And so, the Vermont senator says he will deliver the letter addressed to Jose Munoz, the chairman of Nissan’s North American unit, on Saturday after an organized march to the automaker’s Canton plant. Signers of this petition, including one Danny Glover, make reference, in the letter, to a 2015 National Labor Relations Board complaint which had originally alleged the anti-union conduct by the Nissan management team as well as several recent occupational safety citations.
The letter Sanders is delivering reads: “We believe that Nissan employees in Canton deserve better — and that workers’ rights are civil rights. We look forward to the courtesy of a response.”
Unfortunately, this mobilization is only the latest in a series of many steps by the UAW at that facility—located in the still mostly non-unionized US South—that continues to meet great resistance.
Nissan has, of course, responded. For one, the company has been holding mandatory anti-union meetings for all of its employees. Nissan also denies the 2015 NLRB complaint which claims that management had illegally threatened to release some employees or close the plant should they join the UAW labor union.
In an email, Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman explains, “The allegations made by the union are totally false. Nissan respects and values the Canton workforce, and our history reflects that we recognize the employees’ rights to decide for themselves whether or not to have third-party representation.”