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Why do French workers and unions care about what is happening in Mississippi?

Unions all over the world work to balance the power of multinational companies. It’s essential that workers and unions support each other globally because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Despite being a quote from the United States’ own civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., the United States pays little attention to the effect of weak labor laws on its workforce. Nissan should respect workers’ rights all over the world, including Mississippi. Mississippi workers want a fair union election process and an atmosphere in the workplace where workers can discuss whether to join a union without fear of company retaliation, intimidation or implied threats of plant closure. Read more about what is happening in Mississippi here:

Union leaders at the French carmaker Renault have taken note and expressed their support.  The workers at Renault have good reason to be concerned about what is happening in Mississippi as the companies are very closely connected through a global automotive partnership called the Renault-Nissan Alliance.  Under the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which sold 8 million vehicles worldwide in 2011, Renault holds a 44 percent ownership interest in Nissan and Nissan in turn owns 15 percent of Renault.  In addition, Renault and Nissan share the same top executive, Carlos Ghosn.  Mr. Ghosn acts as the CEO and Chairman of both companies.

In 2012, a delegation of five French unionists visited Jackson and Canton, Mississippi, to meet Nissan workers. The delegation was received by Rep. Jim Evans at a reception at Jackson City Hall, and later spent time with Nissan workers to learn about the anti-union activities and intimidation they have endured at the Canton plant.

The delegation included:

  • Philippe Martinez, General Secretary of the Metal Workers’ Federation of the CGT union federation
  • Fabien Gache, Central Union Delegate from the CGT
  • Gerald Dumas, National Secretary of the Mines and Metal Working General Federation of the CFDT union federation
  • Jean-Yves Sabot, Federal Secretary of the Metal Workers Federation of the FO union federation
  • Laurent Smolnik, Federal Secretary, Renault Delegate, FO union federation

The French delegation expressed strong support for Nissan workers who are interested in a union and talked with workers about how they could support them in their effort to have a voice in the workplace. Join the global campaign to call on Nissan to DO BETTER and end the attacks on workers’ rights at its Canton, Mississippi plant. Go to: www.labourstart.org/nissan

Follow the Do Better Nissan campaign in France, go to:

News coverage (you may have to use Google Translate for some):

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