Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Post-election report on UAW-Nissan election in Mississippi coming, plus farm workers' struggle in North Carolina and Canada negotiators' call for an end to "right to work" laws in the U.S.

Apologies to readers of Labor South. Teaching and other writing duties have kept me away from the blog recently, but I’ll be posting soon an update on some of the key labor activities in the South and beyond.

Expect a report soon on the situation at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi, plant in the wake of the August election that saw workers vote against joining the United Auto Workers by nearly two-to-one odds. It was a tough election with Nissan and its allies waging a fierce battle against unionization.

In many ways, it was a typical union election in the South, where a phalanx of plant owners and management, politicians, preachers, and radio and newspaper commentators is guaranteed to decry the evils of workers having a joint voice in their working lives.

On the other side of the South in North Carolina, the state General Assembly is waging war against the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, an organization that has scored a string of victories for farm workers over the past number of years. Brent Jackson, a state senator with a long record of fines and court rulings against him for worker abuses on his farm, was prime sponsor of legislation that included provisions specifically targeted against FLOC. That legislation is now law.

Workers sometimes have to look far and wide to find support. NAFTA negotiators in Canada recently pushed the United States to get rid of its “right to work” laws as both nations and Mexico take a fresh look at the trade deal. Of course, those laws’ purpose is to gut unions wherever they are, and the laws exist throughout the South. President Trump has been critical of trade deals like NAFTA, but I’ve got a suspicion that has nothing to do with right to work laws.

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