Mississippi Clergy Stand with Nissan Auto Workers
Over the last 30 years transnational auto manufacturers have placed plants all over the world; in the US most of the new plants have landed in the South.
In most cases, these jobs are high-wage union jobs. Automakers in Mississippi, in contrast, regularly violate international labor standards through wholesale workplace intimidation. While some wages might be relatively high, vast numbers of workers are repeatedly employed as temps (at less than half the hourly rate of full-time workers) and individual workers are subjected to individual and small group anti-union “education” meetings organized by their employers. In one plant, for example, 70% of the workers are permanent temps earning $10-12 / hour. They work alongside a small minority of full-time workers earning twice that amount. Threats of relocation to another more “labor friendly” place are regularly made when there is even discussion of the union.
In response, twenty Mississippi pastors, all members of Working Together Jackson, have formed the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan – which is standing with Nissan workers in demand that the factory respect workers’ right to unionize, which includes the right to even consider joining the United Auto Workers.
This is just the beginning of a story about Southern workers, the international labor market and transnational auto manufacturers.