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Tue Jun 12, 2012, 12:08 AM

UAW steps up organizing effort at Nissan - Union raises issue of racial bias in pay rates

Source: Detroit News

June 12, 2012 at 1:00 am
UAW steps up organizing effort at Nissan
Union raises issue of racial bias in pay rates at different plants
By Bryce G. Hoffman and Christine Tierney
The Detroit News

The United Auto Workers is stepping up its effort to organize Nissan Motor Co., taking the unusual step of playing workers at the company's factory in Canton, Miss., against their higher-paid counterparts at the company's plant in Smyrna, Tenn.

The UAW has been holding meetings with small groups of Nissan workers in Mississippi since the end of last year, when The Detroit News first reported that union leaders had picked the Japanese automaker as the target of their much-publicized campaign to organize a foreign car company on U.S. soil.

In these discussions, union organizers have been pointing out that Nissan workers in Mississippi make about $1.50 an hour less than their counterparts at Nissan's factory in Tennessee. They have also been pointing out that most of the workers in Tennessee are white, while most of the Nissan workers in Mississippi are black. Organizers are accusing the automaker of racial bias and telling workers the only way to fight it is to organize.

It's a charge Nissan denies, but it is winning the UAW a powerful ally. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has joined the union in criticizing Nissan for what it says are attempts to intimidate Canton workers.

Read more: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120612/AUTO01/206120328#ixzz1xYJJIfOz


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Reply UAW steps up organizing effort at Nissan - Union raises issue of racial bias in pay rates (Original post)
Bozita Jun 2012 OP
Blue_Tires Jun 2012 #1
4th law of robotics Jun 2012 #2
happyslug Jun 2012 #5
4th law of robotics Jun 2012 #6
happyslug Jun 2012 #9
Omaha Steve Jun 2012 #3
MightyMopar Jun 2012 #4
4th law of robotics Jun 2012 #7
Uncle Joe Jun 2012 #8

Response to Bozita (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 09:45 AM

2. I doubt it's racism


it's a japanese company and racism in japan doesn't mean "white = good, black = bad" it means "non-japanese = bad".

Likely they're just going by the prevailing wages in those states.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 10:35 PM

5. Nissan opened their THIRD plant in a Majority African American Area???

The reason is simple, Nissan has a long history of anti-labor activity. The 1953 Nissan Steel Strike saw the destruction of its own independent union and that union replacement with a "company union" i.e. a union that supports the company over the workers. Such unions are illegal in the US, thus Nissan tends to be anti-union for the only union it likes is one run by management.

More on the type of Union Nissan likes:

As a generally rule, American companies tend to avoid hiring African-Americans for they are most likely to join a union. Unlike Hispanic and White Americans, African American tend to believe in much higher percentage that the only way they can get ahead is if they organize, and that includes joining unions. Thus it has been common knowledge that companies perfer Hispanic (Illegal even better, for they you can threaten them with deportation if they even think about joining a union) and white American (And then women over men, women tend to join Unions at even lower levels then men).

Is the above statement racist, no it is just noting a well known observation that is almost impossible to prove or disprove EXCEPT if you look at who get hired by whom. The Supreme Court has said mere statistics that show a lower level of higher African Americans then other races are NOT evidence of Racism. You need to have an actual statement or other evidence showing a preference for non-African Americans, and most companies are smart enough NOT to put such a policy in writing, it is just understood (a manager who refuses to hire African American gets promoted, while a manager that does, does not and gets bad reviews as to his overall management skills, sooner or later people get the message, don't hire African Americans but also do NOT say that is what you are doing).

Given the above, I was shocked that the Mississippi plant was the third plant Nissan opened in the US.

The first Plant was in Smyrna Tn, which is 87% White.

The Second plant was in Decherd, Tennessee which is 82% white.

The third plant was in Canton Mississippi, which is 80% African American.

I was shocked for it is well known (but almost impossible to prove) that many business refuse to hire African Americans, because it is believe a higher percentage of African Americans will join unions then any other group of Americans. While this fact is technically NOT taught, it is in handbooks and pamphlets available in business schools and Nissan US management has gone to the same schools, seminars and read the same books that mention who tends to join unions, and who don't. Thus I was shocked that Nissan built their their plant in a African American Dominated area. The only conclusion is that given the tax breaks Mississippi was giving away to get any business and the low wages in Canton Mississippi, Nissan thought it could keep any union out and keep wages low (Connections to rail service was a major factor, most Car parts are shipped by rail).

Racism is rarely done for racist reasons, it most cases today it tends to have strong Anti-Union roots. Wages in Canton are HALF what they are in Smyrna, with three times the percentage of people in poverty. Thus it looks like Nissan saw Canton as a low wage area and the African Americans are resenting being paid less the white workers in Tennessee. Thus I can see why the UAW sees Canton as the weak link in Nissan's anti-union position and doing all it can to exploit that weakness.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #5)

Wed Jun 13, 2012, 10:27 AM

6. Wait . . . what?


So they're racist because they won't hire black people (because black people apparently always unionize) but a full third of their US plants are in predominately black areas because . . . ?

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 13, 2012, 04:12 PM

9. No, NIssan is NOT racists, they first and only hatred is of Unions

My point was simple, it tends to be easier to Unionize African Americans then members of any other race. Management knows this and thus tends to avoid hiring African Americans (While making sure it is an "Understood" policy NOT anything in writing).

Canton Mississippi average income is HALF the income of the people of the other two towns and Canton has three times the number of people living in poverty. The other two towns are over 80% white, Canton is over 80% African American.

Thus my comment that Nissan seems to be taken in by Mississippi's strong Right to Work Law AND that the income for the people in Canton is half what it is for the other two towns when they built they second assembly plant in Canton. I most areas of the World, the lower income would tend to bring with it lower wages.

On the other hand African Americans are known to join Unions AND that is known in most management circles. My comment (Which I shouldn't do in the middle of the night when I should be asleep) was more to show that how many companies handed employment of African Americans is NOT racists per se, but Anti-union. Nissan is known to be extremely anti-union (Read about the 1953 Nissan Steel Strike), thus I was shocked that Canton was the third town Nissan built a plant in. More an observation of who Nissan is and how that will affect the Unionization effort given that the Canton Mississippi plant is one the list.

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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 02:15 PM

4. Another reason to support GM, Ford and Chrysler


Much of the hatred of the UAW in the South was because the UAW bailed Martin Luther King out of Birmingham jail. Hoe many top people at Japanese car companies are minorities and women?

One of the leaders in Chrysler's phenomenal comeback has been Ralph Gilles. GM has Ed Welburn.

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Response to MightyMopar (Reply #4)

Wed Jun 13, 2012, 10:29 AM

7. How many of the top people at GM/Ford are Japanese?


It's pretty silly to condemn them for not having more black people as CEO's when the number of black Japanese citizens can be counted on one hand (maybe not literally, but you take my point).

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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Wed Jun 13, 2012, 11:14 AM

8. It's logical to me, that workers at the Nissan Plant in Smyrna Tenn, on average would be making more

The Smyrna Plant was Nissan's first one on U.S. soil and I would suspect their workers in Smyrna on average are more experienced having been with the company longer.

Thanks for the thread, Bozita.

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