Are you a Nissan worker who wants to learn more about how having a union can give you a voice? Learn more about why Nissan workers are demanding a fair union election, or how you can get involved:
- Sign up for our email updates on the campaign.
- Check out the FAQ’s below.
- Request an appointment for a home visit to learn about how having a union would improve Nissan and the campaign to win a fair union election. Call (601) 859-2931 for more information.
- Support our efforts! Join one of the following committees: Media Committee, Community Service Committee, Fair Election Committee or Volunteer Committee. Call (601) 859-2931 to learn more.
- We want everyone to be involved in this effort – it’s your union! To find out how you can become part of the movement to call upon Nissan to do better, contact the local organizing office.Stop by the Nissan Workers Justice Center. We’re located at276 Nissan Parkway, Building F, Suite 300
Canton, MS 39046
1.) What is a union?
You are the union!
A union is a group of workers who choose to come together to look at common issues and make improvements, gain a voice on the job and build strong relationships based on mutual trust and respect. A union is founded on a series of common goals. For example, we want our company to be successful, and to share in that success. We want to have a real voice at our workplace, and participate in decisions that affect our future. We want security, and to know that if we work hard that work will be respected. We want a better life at work, and real opportunity for our families.
The UAW is founded on the principle that workers must have a voice both in their workplace and in the operation of their union. “The precepts of democracy require that workers, through their union, participate meaningfully in making decisions affecting their welfare and that of the communities in which they live,” according to the UAW Constitution, “Workers must have a voice in their own destiny and the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives before such decisions are made.”
Sometimes, you might hear people say that “the union is a third party,” or that “we don’t need outside interference at our plant,” or that “it’s best when we deal with each other as individuals, not through some other organization.” But the truth is, you and your co-workers working together are the union. You will decide whom to elect as representatives, what issues you would like to resolve at the bargaining table, and whether to approve a contract. A union is a way to level the playing field, and provide workers with an organization that speaks for them as we find ways to make our plants the best they can be.
2.) What are “Right to Work” Laws?
Mississippi is a “right to work” state. This law speaks to one narrow issue – it means that Nissan employees have the right to decide whether to pay dues and join the union.. It is the employee’s choice. It does NOT mean that workers there don’t have the right to form unions. They do. In fact, there are many workers all over the country – including in Mississippi – who have strong, effective unions in so-called “right-to-work” states.
Since Nissan is located in right-to-work states, it is up to each technician to decide whether or not to join the union and pay dues. For those who do join the UAW, dues do not go into effect until after a first contract is negotiated and approved by a majority of the members. No one would vote for a contract that did not more than compensate them for union dues.
3.) How does a UAW Affiliated Local Union Work?
The UAW works to support the efforts of local union members to make their workplaces excellent. And we know that no one is more invested in Nissan’s success than the technicians who build Nissan vehicles for a living. The UAW, Nissan team members, and Nissan management all have the same ultimate goal: to make Nissan North America the safest, most efficient, most profitable, and best place possible to work.
When workers form a union and join the UAW, they elect representatives from amongst themselves in a secret ballot election. These representatives, backed by the strength and experience of the UAW International, negotiate a contract with management that Nissan workers must vote to approve before it goes into effect. It is this contract that gives workers a voice and gives them more control over what happens at work.
The union will be run by and for the employees of Nissan. It is a democratic organization. Each local union has a President, Vice-President and a Financial Officer. Many also have a Plant Chairperson and stewards, who have grievance handling and other contract administration duties. All are elected positions from the ranks of the local facility. These positions are responsible, along with elected representatives in each department called stewards, for representing the members and responsible for enforcing the contract. Local union members will democratically vote on the issues and business of the union. Most unions meet often with management, sometimes on an almost daily basis, handling problems, meeting with joint labor-management committees, discussing productivity issues, safety, ergonomics, etc. and trying to get ahead of problems before they occur. The basic idea is that the union creates an equal relationship between employees and management.
4.) How much are Union Dues? What are they used for?
First, remember that Mississippi is a right to work state – this means that employees have the right to decide whether to pay dues and join the union. If you think your local union is doing a good job representing you and in negotiations for workplace improvements, then we hope you will join. If you feel otherwise, it is your right not to join.
Members in UAW unions pay dues of 2 hours regular pay per month. A worker who makes $20/hr will pay $40 a month – this dues structure has not changed since 1967, and will only change if members vote to do so. A portion of the dues (38%) stays with the local union and is used to fund education, community outreach, health and safety initiatives, and to negotiate and enforce union contracts. The remainder goes to the strike fund and the UAW International, where it is used to hire attorneys, accountants, researchers, and other union staff – in short, to give workers the same kind of knowledge and resources that management has at the bargaining table.
5.) Does the Community Support Our Efforts to Organize?
Community leaders from across Mississippi are joining together to support the workers at Nissan. Nissan workers have the support of legislators like Congressman Bennie Thompson, community leaders like Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson, religious leaders like Dr. Isiac Jackson of the Liberty Baptist Church and President of the General Missionary Baptist State Convention.
6.) Do Nissan workers in other countries have unions?
Nissan employees and employees at its Alliance partner, Renault, have formed unions around the globe – in Japan, France, South Africa, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. Isn’t it time we stood up for OUR rights here in America, just like our coworkers around the world?
7.) How Can I Get Involved/How Can I Learn More?
We want everyone to be involved in this effort – it’s your union! To find out how you can become part of the movement to call upon Nissan to do better, contact the local organizing office.
Stop by the Nissan Workers Justice Center. We’re located at
276 Nissan Parkway, Building F, Suite 300
Canton, MS 39046