Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan, Mississippi NAACP, Nissan workers and supporters unveil the Do Better Nissan List at the North American International Auto Show

Group urges auto show consumers to support better treatment for Nissan workers and tell Nissan ‘labor rights are civil rights’

(DETROIT) – Today, Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan (MAFFAN), an organization representing clergy, elected officials, civil rights activists and students in Mississippi, along with Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson, Nissan workers and their supporters, launched the “Tell Nissan: Labor Rights are Civil Rights” campaign and the Do Better Nissan List to talk about the unfair issues that Nissan workers in Canton, Miss., experience. The Do Better Nissan List urges Nissan to treat labor rights as civil rights, and shares the issues that workers and their supporters want Nissan to address if the company would agree to the Principles of a Fair Election, including:

  1. Lead Us Not into Temp-Nation. “At heart, temporary workers are like us. They’re working for their families. They don’t have job security, but we want to help them. Through contracts and negotiations, we will do away with treating temps differently and move them into direct Nissan jobs.” – Michael Carter, Nissan worker
  2. Put Worker Safety First. “When you have been out for surgery and you come back to work, Nissan will put you on the same job that caused the injury in the first place.” – James Brown, Nissan worker
  3. A Voice in the Workplace. “We are here to partner Nissan. We want to be able to talk for the workers in a unified voice as a union.” – Chip Wells, Jr., Nissan worker

Nissan is denying workers a fair union election by using a campaign of intimidation and threats to discourage employees from considering a union. Nissan’s mistreatment of workers in Canton was outlined in an internationally released report in 2013 that documented how the company violates the international labor rights of its U.S. workers.

Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson says the workers’ effort to have a voice on the job is a civil rights issue. “The NAACP and labor unions have long history of collaboration,” said Johnson. “The NAACP believes that labor rights are civil rights and fully supports this campaign – it is a strong example of our partnership with Nissan workers.”

Press conference speakers also included Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Horace McMillon, MAFFAN member and Pastor of Open Door Mennonite Church in Jackson, Miss., Frank Figgers, MAFFAN member and civil rights and community organizer for One Voice, and Rafael Martinez, Nissan worker in Canton, Miss. They urged auto consumers to go to DoBetterNissan.org and review the Do Better Nissan List to learn about the issues that Nissan workers want to address.

Nissan’s treatment of workers in Canton, Miss., was featured in a report released internationally in 2013 that detailed how the company violates the international labor rights of its U.S. workers while working with unions at many of their plants in other countries.

Canton Nissan technician Rafael Martinez said the anti-union campaign at Nissan has been ongoing. “Since Nissan opened their plant they have been campaigning to keep out a union. The company does individual anti-union talks with workers, shown anti-union videos, and created a climate of fear by implying the plant will close. We want that treatment to stop, and we have a list of specific ways Nissan needs to change,” said Martinez.

For more information, contact: Lauren Llewellyn, (804) 675-8153, Lauren.Llewellyn@padillacrt.com