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New York Times correspondent Noam Scheiber, former editor for the liberal New Republic magazine who now covers labor for the paper, sounded rather bitter about another autoworker union setback in the South, under the loaded headline “U.A.W. Accuses Nissan of ‘Scare Tactics’ as Workers Reject Union Bid.” In Times-world, if unions lose, something must be fishy.
In a test of labor’s ability to expand its reach in the South, workers at a Nissan plant in Mississippi overwhelmingly rejected a bid to unionize, an election that the union quickly criticized.
Employees - Plant - Thursday - Friday - Percent
Out of roughly 3,500 employees at the Canton-based plant who voted Thursday and Friday, more than 60 percent opposed the union. It was an emphatic coda to a yearslong organizing effort underwritten by the United Automobile Workers, which has been repeatedly frustrated in its efforts to organize auto plants in the region.
Scheiber’s sour grapes had an awfully thin flavor. No fraud is ever suggested. The very fact that the company fought back was disturbing.
Union - Company - Fight - Effort - Workers
The union accused the company of waging an unusually aggressive fight against the organizing effort. “Perhaps recognizing they couldn’t keep their workers from joining our union based on the facts, Nissan and its anti-worker allies ran a vicious campaign against its own work force that was comprised of intense scare tactics, misinformation and intimidation,” Dennis Williams, the U.A.W. president, said in a statement after the vote.
Election - Campaign - Plant - Majority - Workers
The election campaign at the plant, where a large majority of workers are African-American, frequently took on racial overtones. Some employees alleged that white supervisors dispensed special treatment to white subordinates, a charge the company emphatically denied.
For their part, anti-union workers highlighted the U.A.W.’s contributions to local civil rights and religious groups, accusing the union of seeking to buy support in the African-American community.
End - Economics - Fear - Change
In the end, though, basic economics combined with a fear of change...
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