The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is once again targeting Nissan employees in Canton, MS, for monopoly union representation in their relations with Nissan management. Media reports indicate that on July 10, 2017, UAW officials filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) office in New Orleans for a Board-conducted representation election scheduled to be held on August 3 and August 4 at the Canton plant. This is the same union that lost badly when it attempted to unionize the entire Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, TN, in 2014, and which would like to see Mississippi auto manufacturing jobs exported back to its headquarters state of Michigan.
The UAW has been pressuring Nissan workers for over a decade to accept unionization, trying to impose exclusive representation upon all 6,500 Nissan workers, including those who do not desire the union’s representation.
The UAW has lost 75% of its membership since 1980. Headquartered in Detroit, home to bailed-out General Motors and Chrysler Corporation, the UAW sees unionizing thriving and productive auto companies like Nissan as its salvation. The UAW says it wants only to help Nissan workers, but you have to join the UAW and authorize it to be your “exclusive bargaining representative” under federal labor law if you want its help. What does that mean?
First, let’s unpack the term “exclusive bargaining representative.” The emphasis is on the word “exclusive.” Once a union becomes the employees’ exclusive bargaining representative, the workers themselves can no longer talk to their managers to resolve day to day work place issues. Nissan would be forbidden to discuss and resolve issues, grievances, or any other matters with an individual employee or even a group of employees. “Exclusive” truly means exclusive in the federal labor law context — Nissan employees would lose all right to deal directly with their employer, and vice versa. Only the UAW could speak for employees.
All covered employees in Canton, even if they are not union members or vote against the union, would be represented by union officials in dealing with Nissan over their terms and conditions of employment. They could not make their own employment contracts or settle their grievances with management. In addition, the union could allow only union members to vote on selection of the union team that negotiates monopoly bargaining contracts between Nissan and the UAW and to vote on ratification of such contracts. Union members, of course, must pay full union dues, including the part that is used for politics, ideological causes, and other non-bargaining activities.
Second, consider the UAW’s real interest in Nissan and Canton. The UAW is desperate for more dues paying members. Having lost hundreds of thousands of members and dues payers since 1980, the UAW faces a future of continued retrenchment, with lower salaries and fewer perks for its officers, and more layoffs of its staff. This is where Canton Nissan workers come in. The UAW needs you and your dues money to shore up its declining financial position.
Third, the UAW has been running an aggressive worldwide “corporate campaign” against Nissan to force it to hand Canton employees over, without even a secret-ballot vote. Does trashing your employer in the media and ruining its reputation with consumers sound like a good idea to you?
Investigate and study these issues before you cast your ballot. Research why the UAW’s membership has dropped significantly. Ask yourself why many automotive manufacturing employees across the USA are working union free. Study the facts and issues, and consider the arguments both Nissan management and the UAW present before deciding whether you will vote for or against union representation in the upcoming election.
The UAW cannot lawfully threaten or coerce you into voting for it. Moreover, if you oppose the union, you have certain rights to campaign against union representation.
For over four decades, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has worked in the courts and administrative agencies, including the NLRB, to expand and protect the rights of individual employees to choose to refrain from union representation and membership. It is the nation’s premier organization exclusively dedicated to providing free legal assistance to employee victims of forced unionism abuse. The Foundation takes no position about how you should exercise your right to join or refrain from joining a union or how you should vote in the upcoming representation election. The Foundation simply wants all employees to be able to make these choices knowingly in an atmosphere free of restraint, threats, and coercion.
If you want to learn more about your legal rights, go to the Foundation’s “Know Your Rights” page or contact a National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney toll free at 1-800-336-3600, or via email to [email protected] or by clicking here .