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Nissan Workers Continue Fight for Unionization

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 20 May 2013 08:53am | comments

Nissan workers and other community supporters are still expressing a number of concerns with the automobile manufacturer since it opened a plant in canton 10 years ago. But the issue of allowing workers to unionize remains at the heart of the matter.   

 For nearly a decade some Nissan workers and supporters have accused the giant automobile manufacturer of using intimidation practices  to keep workers from unionizing.  During a Friday news conference at the Mississippi State Capitol Dr. Isaac Jackson, President of the Mississippi Baptist State Convention spoke passionately about the subject of unionization.

"We are going to stand with the workers at Nissan until Nissan gives the workers the right to organize," said Jackson.    "Simply becasuse we are American citizens, we have the right to vote, give us that right."

Morris Mock helps paint automobile at the Nissan plant in Canton. But  after nine years of service he says he still has plenty of concerns.    

"We want to be able to negotiate our pensions, we want to be able to negotiate even what they call our recognition bonus, we want profit sharing, we want to be partners with the company we don't want the company to treat us like we're second class citizens, that's the main thing we want, we want a voice in the factory," said Mock. 

A study paid for by the United Auto Workers finds state and local governments may provide the canton plant with nearly $850 million in tax breaks over 30 years plus $400 million in cash aid. Philip Mattera is Research Director for Good Jobs First the Washington based non profit group that conducted the study.

"What we tried to show is that the additional tax benefits that the company received could potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars more to that to the point where the company could potentially receive some $1.3 billion dollars," said Mattera.

Officials with the Mississippi Development Authority says the report overestimates tax subsidies, and says if Mississippi had not  aided Nissan, there would be no taxes to collect.  Nissan officials say the overwhelming majority of their employees do not support unionizing. 




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