Nissan Next UAW Target?
With fat contracts with Detroit’s Big 3 in its back pocket, the United Auto Workers union can now turn its attention to trying to organize foreign automakers’ plants in the U.S. The union considers the effort critical to its future.
But where to start? The Associated Press is reporting that the choice of the next target is up in the air, but that Nissan is a likely target.
Union leaders have discussed Nissan as a target for organizing, according to a person briefed on union meetings. “It was crystal clear” that Nissan would be targeted, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the meetings are private, the AP is reporting.
Nissan has two assembly plants in the U.S., in Canton, Miss., and Smyrna, Tenn. Nissan has 8,000 employee alone in Tennessee, where it has its North American headquarters.
Though it has struck out in organizing workers at foreign plants in the U.S. in the past, the UAW is taking a new tack this time.
The union is trying to come across as less confrontational. King said the union’s recent contracts with the Detroit Three automakers should show foreign companies and their workers that the UAW is a good business partner, the AP says. Earlier this year the UAW agreed to new four-year deals that have no pay raises for most workers but mandate profit-sharing. The deals also bring thousands of additional jobs to UAW-represented factories.
“If we don’t organize these transnationals, I don’t think there’s a long-term future for the UAW, I really don’t,” King said in a speech at the union’s legislative conference in January. At the time, he expected to pick a target within three months.
The UAW’s membership has fallen to just over 376,000 members, about one quarter of what it was at the peak in 1979. Membership rose 6% last year, the first increase since 2004. Source: USA Today.