Actor Danny Glover and students launch “Concerned Students for a Better Nissan College Tour”

Mississippi Nissan workers’ rights campaign will be shared with college campuses

(ATLANTA, GA) – Actor and activist Danny Glover today announced the mobilization of support for Nissan workers in Canton, Miss., with the launch of the “Concerned Students for a Better Nissan College Tour” at Clark Atlanta University. Glover was joined by students from the Mississippi, Georgia and Florida Student Justice Alliances (MSJA, GSJA, FSJA) and revealed plans for demonstrations and informational leafleting on college campuses in Nashville and Washington, D.C., later this month.

The Student Justice Alliances in Mississippi, Georgia and Florida are a coalition of national and international students and student organizations who have pledged to stand with Nissan workers as they fight for justice and a voice in the workplace. Glover and the students want to shed light on how Nissan treats employees in Mississippi, who are asking for the right to decide freely whether to have a union represent them.

“Today’s student is tomorrow’s Nissan worker. We want to see today’s workers and the workers of the future treated fairly, and we want them to have a voice on the job, and the right to choose unionization without threats from the company,” said Tyson Jackson, MSJA executive chair.

Workers at Nissan’s Canton plant are demanding the ability to hear both sides of the issue equally instead of only anti-union information from the company, and the right to have a free and fair organizing election. Glover and students detailed tactics Nissan is using in its anti-union campaign, and also called upon Nissan to:

  • Honor the UAW Fair Election Principles
  • Apologize for and retract statements made to workers implying that the plant will close or lose product if they vote to organize
  • Agree to give UAW supporters equal time to show videos, hold one-on-one meetings and group meetings with workers for the same amount of time the company has spent having anti-union meetings in the past year
  • Agree not to hold meetings on company time unless union supporters have equal time to meet with workers

The “Concerned Students for a Better Nissan College Tour” will continue its efforts on Tuesday, March 26, at Tennessee State University, Walter S. Davis Humanities Building, T.E. Poag Auditorium, 3500 John A Merrit Blvd, in Nashville, Tenn. On Thursday, March 28, the group will travel to Washington, D.C., to protest at Howard University, Blackburn Center Ballroom, 2400 6th Street NW. Glover, students and community supporters have already taken the campaign’s message to a variety of locations in the United States, including Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss., and auto shows in Detroit, Mich., Chicago, Ill., and Atlanta, Ga., as well as international auto shows in Brazil and Geneva.

Brandon Brown, GSJA chapter president, said that as a young consumer, he wants to tell Nissan that his generation of students does not support the company’s unfair treatment of workers. “We believe this is a labor, civil and human rights issue,” Brown said.

Glover noted that Nissan works with unions all over the world, except in the United States. “They have unions in South Africa and Japan. We’re only asking for workers to have the right to vote on a union and not face intimidation.”

Monica Atkins, MSJA executive member, said, “More and more young people are troubled by Nissan’s treatment of Mississippi workers and we feel that their story needs to be heard. It’s time for the world to know what they’re going through.”

“Georgia students are proud to be a part of the Mississippi Nissan workers’ rights campaign and band together with students from Mississippi to stand with Nissan workers in Canton. All workers deserve to be treated fairly and with respect,” said Ron Allen, GSJA state chair.

Christy Johnson, MSJA chapter president, said the Alliance’s goal is to expand membership by establishing local Student Justice Association chapters at as many of the nation’s 115 historically black colleges and universities as possible. “To reach our generation of student supporters of this campaign, we’re using social media. It’s been a great way to build awareness and generate support from students.”

The MSJA was formed after students in Mississippi interned with the UAW Global Organizing Institute in summer 2012, and heard how Nissan workers in Canton were being treated. They participated in several community meetings, student/labor events and auto shows raising awareness of Nissan workers’ efforts to obtain a fair union election. Today, the MSJA has more than 200 members in Mississippi, comprised of students from Tougaloo College, Jackson State University, Hinds Community College and even some high schools, who are hosting forums, workshops and conferences to educate students about the issues that Nissan workers are facing.

For more information, contact: Catherine Gryp, (804) 675-8141,                            

Mississippi Student Justice Alliance

Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan

P.O. Box 1674, Canton, MS 39046