Leaders of a Brazilian labor federation representing 9.5 million workers visited Mississippi to express support and to hear first hand about Nissan’s intimidation tactics. The delegation’s leader was Miguel Torres, who is vice president of Forca Sindical, Brazil’s second largest union federation, and president of the metal workers union that represents Renault/Nissan workers. The delegation also included Sergio Luiz Leite, first secretary general, Nilton Souza da Silva, international relations secretary, Ortelio Palacio Cuesta, international relations advisor and Elida Maria Souza Capitao, advisor to the Puerto Alegre union.
The Brazilians met with a wide range of people in Mississippi who described Nissan’s disrespect for workers’ rights. Nissan workers explained that when they launched a union campaign management held individual and group meetings where they implied that the plant would close if workers exercised their right to organize. Community leaders, including clergy and civil rights leaders, as well as public officials, shared their disapproval of Nissan’s refusal to allow a free decision about unionizing.
The Brazilians said they were shocked that the company is so fiercely opposed to U.S. workers forming a union. Nissan is building a factory in Brazil and will engage in collective bargaining with workers there. The Brazilians said it is completely unacceptable that Nissan would target Mississippi workers for second-class treatment.
Our Brazilian friends pledged to continue to raise awareness in Brazil about what is happening in Mississippi. Union members from Brazil’s Renault/Nissan union have been leafleting Nissan dealerships in Sao Paolo and Curtiba, demanding that Nissan do better, or “faca melhor.”
Brazil’s consumers believe strongly in workers’ rights and human rights, and the response to the fliers has been universally supportive.
With such amazing support from the people of Brazil, we know we will prevail.