Pressure on Nissan USA on the streets of Belo Horizonte

pressure_on_nissanBy Franciele Xavier

Demonstration in front of a dealership in Belo Horizonte

Brazilian and American union activists sponsored a demonstration on Thursday (September 26) in front of a Nissan dealership in Belo Horizonte. The protest was headed up by the General Union of Workers (UGT) and the metalworkers’ union of the United States (United Auto Workers-UAW).  The activists expressed support for Nissan workers in the state of Mississippi, in the United States, who face alleged reprisals for union organizing.
The company’s actions, according to the leaders of the protest, go against the Fundamental Right of Union Organization, established by the International Labor Organization.

The national president of UGT, Ricardo Patah, accused Nissan in the United States of trying to prevent union organizing by threatening workers with firing or closure of the plant, and discriminating against union activists.

Patah reported that U.S. law recognizes the formation of a union only when a majority of employees are in favor of union representation, and verified by the government.

“However, soon after the formation of a union committee, companies like Nissan dismiss employees who stood up for the union, and then it becomes almost impossible unionize,” said Patah.

Rafael Guerra, a representative of the UAW, which is leading a global campaign to pressure Nissan, said that the plant in Canton, Mississippi has 5,200 employees, 40% of which are temporary and outsourced and that all of the workers there have salaries lower than those at another Nissan plant in Tennessee.

“We must persist in the struggle for workers’ rights, but unfortunately American labor law is weak, and Mississippi is one of the most conservative states,” said Guerra.

Nissan was asked to comment, but the company did not respond to interview requests.

Demonstration in front of a dealership in Belo Horizonte