Home Automotive Dozens at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant will vote on own union

Dozens at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant will vote on own union

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Nashville, Tennessee — Dozens of the thousands of workers at the Nissan plant in Tennessee a very late vote About whether to unionize on Thursday. Those leading the movement want an elusive victory in the traditionally anti-union South’s foreign-owned auto assembly plants.

After years of legal battles spanning two presidential administrations, the organizers announced that a group of 75 mold engineers had been recruited by a highly specialized team for jobs that others could not do at the facility. I have successfully argued that I am qualified to be an independent agent because I have the skills. claims to be ineligible to join the unionized bloc of

Organizers cite a variety of reasons for unionizing at the Nissan plant in Smyrna, about 40 kilometers from Nashville. Those include retirement, work-life balance, and health care issues you want to negotiate.

Across the country, several high profile organizing campaigns at Starbucks, Amazon, Apple and other companies are putting a new spotlight on the organized workforce. record low last year. The number of workers in unions actually increased by 1.9% to his 14.3 million, but did not keep up with the rise in overall employment rates.

A federal ruling in 2021 nearly wiped out the union movement in Smyrna. After that decision was overturned this year, organizers said the election was not an easy victory and could be in jeopardy, saying years of waiting had hit the campaign. rice field.

Officials of the National Labor Relations Commission sided with Nissan. June 2021A smaller group of workers ruled that they could not vote to unionize unless the factory included thousands more workers. The union did not pursue a facility-wide vote.

But once the U.S. Senate completed confirmation of the new Biden administration’s nominees, control of the board switched from Republicans to Democrats.The panel overturned a ruling from earlier last month, giving unions green light for voting.

Since factory workers first contacted the machinists’ union in 2020, some supporters have quit, others have retired, and some have moved to work at another union, says Mechanics International. said Tim Wright, Southern Regional Grand Lodge Representative for the Aerospace Workers Association.

In an interview on Tuesday, Wright said, “The two-year process has cooled this campaign to the point where it could turn into a close race. I hope to be able to create a “topic” between us.

A spokesman for Nissan, which employs about 7,000 people at the Smyrna plant, said the company believes “the workplace will be stronger without the involvement of third-party unions” such as the machinists’ union. said. Still, he stressed that employees have the right to decide whether or not to join a union. This right has been protected by federal law since the 1930s.

Unions have met opposition from Republican politicians when they try to organize at foreign automakers in the South, including Tennessee. invisible to

Tennessee already has a large union presence with American automakers. The General Motors plant in Spring Hill has thousands of production and skilled workers represented by the National Auto Workers Union.

In a radio ad for the campaign featuring former University of Tennessee and Pittsburgh Steelers football player Ramon Foster, the Mechanics Guild is working with Trane, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Arnold Air Force Base, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and NWI labor. emphasized the representatives of aero and rail industry.

Although Nissan works with organized workers in other parts of the world, the vote to unionize broadly at two Nissan plants in the United States was narrow. In 1989 it rejected factory-wide unions under the UAW.

Automaker’s other U.S. assembly plants in Canton, Mississippirefused representation of the entire facility by the UAW during the 2017 ballot.

At the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the margins were much tighter in the 2014 and 2019 polls. twice rejected factory-wide unions under the UAW.

A year after the 2014 vote failed, 160 Chattanooga conservative workers won the vote to form a small union, but Volkswagen refused to negotiate. The German automaker had argued that the bargaining arm should also include production workers. As a result, the 2019 factory-wide vote followed.

There is also an open question as to whether workers will unionize in sprawl. New plant planned by Ford It aims to employ nearly 11,000 workers in Kentucky and Tennessee by 2025. Three plants, two in Kentucky and one in Tennessee, will be built with Ford’s Korean corporate partner SK Innovation to produce batteries for electric vehicles. His fourth plant in Tennessee will build electric F-Series pickup trucks.

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