UAW President Bob King

It appears the UAW has not finished casting about for a transplanted carmaker to target for unionization. Recent months have seen small-arms fire aimed at BMW and Hyundai, now UAW head Bob King has pointed artillery at Nissan, with King "accusing the Japanese automaker of unspecified human rights violations at its factories in Tennessee and Mississippi."

The UAW has attempted to organize Nissan's workforce before, and it didn't work. Supposedly it is devoting more resources to this effort, but other than King's accusations and statements that the UAW is talking to "top leaders at Nissan," it isn't clear how much commitment is involved. With no publicly stated target, is this another act of probing the chances at success or truly an all-out push? Nissan North America said King hasn't spoken to anyone there, and VP David Reuter said that King's "attempts to disparage Nissan are without merit."

Based on insider and outsider commentary, the UAW needs to do something soon to up its membership. With less than 400,000 members, even King feels that "If we don't organize these transnationals, I don't think there's a long-term future for the UAW."