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Nissan employees reject union.

Nissan employees reject union

The organizing challenge facing the United Auto Workers and other unions was demonstrated in a representation election at the Nissan Motors Manufacturing Corp., USA automobile and truck plant in Smyrna, TN. The tally was 1,622 for "no union" and 711 for the Auto Workers. During the pre-election campaign, the Auto Workers stressed its claim that the 2,400 production workers needed a union because Nissan production goals were too high, exhausting and endangering employees. Nissan contended that the work pace was not excessive, that employees already had compensation levels comparable to those of workers the union represented elsewhere in the industry, and that the workers were assured of jobs, even during sales slowdowns.

An Auto Worker's spokesman called the election results a "stinging defeat," but explained, "we have to take the long view of these things," noting past organizing struggles that finally were successful. A plant manager contended that the union lost the election because it had little to offer employees that they were not already receiving directly from Nissan.

Despite the defeat, the Auto Workers indicated that it would continue its organizing drives at two other Japanese-owned plants--the Toyota plant in Georgetown KY, and the Subaru-Isuzu plant in Lafayette, IN.

To date, the union's organizing successes in the automobile industry have been limited to 6,400 employees of plants operated jointly by Japanese and American companies, such as New United Motors Manufacturing Inc. in Fremont, CA (operated by General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Co.) and Mazda Motors Manufacturing in Flat Rock, MI (partly owned by Ford Motor Co.).

The Auto Workers first major organizing effort at a Japanese-owned plant involved the Honda of America Manufacturing Corp. operation in Marysville, OH. This effort ended in 1986, when the union withdrew its petition to the National Labor Relations Board for an election, presumably because of doubts that it could garner a majority of votes (see Monthly Labor Review, May 1986, p. 51).
COPYRIGHT 1989 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Title Annotation:developments in industrial relations
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Sep 1, 1989
Previous Article:UAW convention.
Next Article:The Hispanic Population of the United States.

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