New study shows Nissan in Canton, Miss., is violating international labor rights standards with implied threats and intimidation of workers who want to organize a union

Report from the Mississippi NAACP and international labor law scholar Lance Compa will outline how Nissan undermines workers’ freedom of association, in violation of International Labor Organization Conventions 87 and 98.

Washington, D.C. – An extensive report by Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson and international labor law expert Lance Compa will be released in Washington, D.C., Oct. 8 showing that Nissan in Canton, Miss., is in violation of international labor standards on freedom of association through its aggressive interference with workers trying to exercise their fundamental right to organize a union.

The report, which will be outlined at press conferences in various countries including the U.S., France and Brazil and will be available in Japanese, concludes that the company should respect human rights standards on workers’ freedom of association, including the right to organize and the right to collective bargaining at all of its operations worldwide in accordance with International Labor Organization (ILO) standards, the UN Global Compact and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. But in the Canton plant, according to the report, Nissan has launched a campaign of fear and intimidation resulting in the denial of these rights.

“Freedom of association requires non-interference by employers at every stage of workers’ exercise of this fundamental right. But inside the gleaming industrial palace in Canton, Nissan management’s harsh, one-sided campaign against workers’ organizing efforts violates their right to freedom of association,” concludes the report.

Workers at Nissan’s Canton plant, who are supported by a growing student movement, community organizations and trade unions around the world, described in the report treatment that violates the ILO 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work and ILO Conventions 87 and 98. These standards are included in the UN Global Compact, which Nissan joined in 2004.

The report’s authors say Nissan should change how it treats workers, including following ILO core labor standards, stopping implied threats to close plants and withhold product lines, agreeing to negotiate with a union in good faith if workers choose representation and allowing union representatives equal access to workers to talk about the benefits of unionization for workers and the company.

The authors recommend that socially responsible investment firms “…re-evaluate their portfolio holdings of Nissan stock in light of ILO standards and the company’s actions at the Canton plant …” The report also calls for scrutiny under the United Nations Global Compact and under the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises, in which Japan and the U.S. are member states.

Nissan recognizes and bargains with unions all over the world, but not in the U.S. Nissan workers and their supporters want Nissan to:

  • Allow union supporters equal time to address employees on the issue of union representation.
  • Stop the harassment and intimidation. Apologize and retract past statements that imply the future of the plant would be at stake if workers choose union representation. Create a working atmosphere free of fear.
  • Uphold international commitments to the United Nations and recognize the OECD’s labor guidelines. Respect fundamental labor rights including Freedom of Association at all Nissan operations around the world and treat workers in Canton, Miss., with the same fairness afforded workers at unionized Nissan plants globally.

WHO:     Derrick Johnson, president, Mississippi NAACP
Lance Compa, international labor law scholar
Dr. Isiac Jackson, Jr., chairperson, Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan (MAFFAN)
Canton Nissan workers Chris Milton, Dione Monroe and Wade Cox

WHEN:  Tues., Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. EST

WHERE:  National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, 13th floor conference room, Washington, D.C 20045


Lauren Llewellyn,, (804) 675-8153

View the Lance Compa Report