Historically, automotive plants in the South have been impervious to efforts by organization drives by the United Auto Workers. In 2001, the UAW was rejected two-to-one by Nissan workers at its Smyrna, Tenn. plant. And in 2005 and 2007, the UAW failed to get enough interest at Nissan's plant in Canton, Miss.
But the UAW is reportedly ready to give it a go again in Canton. Union officials say the group has been discussing the possibility with workers there, and reactions are not all positive. UAW President Bob King says Nissan officials have been actively trying to dissuade its Canton employees from cooperating with the union by using scare tactics.
"Fear and intimidation should not be part of the equation when workers are deciding whether they want to be represented by the union," King is quoted saying in the Reuters article. "Workers should be able to hear equally from both sides and make a decision for themselves."
In Nissan's defense, a company spokesman says the accusations of intimidation are not true.
If it is to succeed in Canton, the UAW will need to win over the workers, but to do so, it will likely have to overcome Nissan's apparent objections as well as the anti-union attitudes of politicians. Miss. Gov. Ken Bryant has in the past said "he would step in if the UAW tried to organize a plant in the state," Reuters reports.
Nissan's Canton plant builds five models, including the 2013 Altima, which has just entered production last week.