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Why do workers in Japan care about what’s happening at Nissan in the U.S.?

Masujiro Hashimoto founded the Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works in Japan in 1911, and after a number of mergers and acquisitions, the company became Nissan in 1934. Though today Nissan has an incredible global footprint, Japan remains the location of the company’s world headquarters. In addition, Nissan maintains fourteen production facilities, several research and development centers and the Nissan Education facility in Japan. Nissan, despite its success and growth throughout the world, still remains a distinctly Japanese company.

In Japan, Nissan has recognized and bargained with the JAW, the Japan Auto Workers union, for decades. Together, the JAW and Nissan have built a relationship defined by mutual respect and cooperation. Over 145,000 Nissan workers in Japan are represented by the JAW. Nissan workers in the United States are simply striving for what their Japanese coworkers already enjoy; the opportunity to engage with Nissan management in the same kind of respectful and cooperative relationship.

Today the JAW and UAW represent common employers such as Mitsubishi, have met regularly for years and are both members of IndustriALL, the global union federation for autoworkers.

The JAW has expressed its support for Nissan workers in the U.S. as they try to organize with the UAW. In a June 2013 letter to UAW President Bob King, JAW President Aihara and Nissan Roren President and JAW Vice President Takakura affirmed their support for Nissan workers in the U.S. having a fair process to decide if they wish to be represented by a union. They also committed to continuing to demand that Nissan management in the U.S. be neutral and fair toward employees’ unionization effort.

In September 2013 a delegation of leaders from the JAW-Nissan Roren, including President of Nissan Roren and JAW Vice President Akira Takakura, JAW Assistant General Secretary Masahiko Ichinowatari, and Executive Director of the Policy and Planning Department of Nissan Roren Tsuyoshi Kasuya visited Canton, Mississippi. The delegation met with Nissan workers, community and faith leaders from the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan (MAFFAN) and members of the Mississippi Student Justice Alliance (MSJA), and pledged their ongoing support for U.S. Nissan workers as they fight for a fair union election.

Follow the Do Better Nissan campaign in Japan:

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