Stop the Threats

The return of manufacturing to the U.S. has created much-needed jobs in Southern communities. However, the Mississippi community believes Nissan must respect American freedoms and the right of workers to decide for themselves whether to have a union represent them. Nissan should show the same respect for U.S. workers in Mississippi as it does for workers all over the rest of the world.

Companies should not actively work to keep unions out of the workplace by intimidating workers.

NO Threats, NO Intimidation

 

Many people think the government protects workers against employer threats. However, the National Labor Relations Act (NRLA) provides an outdated and ineffective framework for union elections.

More on Fair Election.

Nissan has been taking advantage of the weaknesses of the federal NRLA, which lets management give mandatory speeches and has no meaningful penalties when management threatens or intimidates workers who want to unionize.

The letter of the law is that management is not supposed to make threats to keep a union out. Unfortunately, there is no penalty when they make implicit threats. And the remedy for an unlawful threat is simply the posting of a notice saying that the employer won’t break the law in the future.  The inadequacy of such a remedy is obvious.

Workers do not give up all of their rights as citizens when they walk into a workplace. Americans have a long tradition of fighting for our civil rights, and that includes the right to choose a union without fear of being fired. Workers’ fear of losing their job is real. One worker said his coworkers are “fearful of losing their jobs.  They’re in debt, and they’re scared to step out and say ‘maybe I can do better.’ They are scared of losing what they have.”

During a press conference announcing support of Nissan workers, Congressman Bennie Thompson shared his view on fair election for workers.  He said that workers should be able to consider a union without any reprisals going forward.  Congressman Thompson said that the union should be given equal time to present its side.  In America, there are at least two sides to any issue.  As a leader in Mississippi, Congressman Thompson wants to make workers are about to see both sides, and make an informed decision.

Unfortunately, Nissan has launched an aggressive and sophisticated anti-union campaign against its own employees in a variety of forums including the following:

  • Anti-union “orientation” meetings for new hires
  • Plant-wide anti-union meetings on internal TV monitors during the workday
  • One-on-one anti-union meetings between individual employees and members of management
  • Small group captive-audience roundtables led by top managers and HR officials

Nissan management has sent an unequivocal message to the workforce that there will be dire consequences if workers choose UAW representation. Nissan has used fear and intimidation by doing the following:

  • Implying that unionization results in negative consequences such as plant closure or lay-offs
  • Demonizing the union and attacking the union’s integrity
  • Characterizing the union as detrimental to Nissan’s success

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