Nissan Workers to Vote on Union

October 3, 2001( - Today about 4,100 workers at Nissan Motor Co.'s Smyrna, Tennessee auto plant will decide whether to let the United Auto Workers (UAW) represent them.

If workers frustration with mounting on-the-job injuries and inadequate retirement guarantees is high enough, tomorrow’s vote could be a case of third time charm for the union, which has failed on two earlier attempts to garner the necessary votes.

On the other hand, Nissan, which pays well above the market wage, has told workers that joining a union would threaten their job security.

A victory for the union tomorrow will be a first for the UAW at a foreign-owned auto-assembly plant in the South, a crucial position for the UAW, which has lost many members as the region supplanted the Midwest as the center of growth in the US auto industry.

However, the UAW’s future is uncertain if the Nissan workers vote against them. The union currently has just 733,000 active members, half of the 1.5 million it had in 1970. A loss could weaken the union’s hand as it heads into the next round of contract negotiations with Detroit’s automakers.