Nissan workers at Tennessee plant reject union campaign

March 17, 2023 11:27 am

Nissan Motor's logo is displayed during a press preview for the company's new Ariya all-battery SUV at Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan July 14, 2020. [Source: Reuters]

A group of technicians at Nissan Motor Co’s (7201.T) Smyrna, Tennessee, factory voted overwhelmingly against joining a union, marking yet another defeat for organized labour in the U.S. South.

The tool-and-die workers in a 62-9 vote rejected a campaign by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), according to results announced by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board.

The 75 technicians would have been the first group to unionize at the Japanese automaker’s largest assembly plant in North America.

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The union has five days to file objections to the election results.

Last month, the Democrat-controlled National Labor Relations Board rejected Nissan’s claim that any election should also involve thousands of production-line workers because they share working conditions with the technicians. The Smyrna plant has more than 7,000 employees.

Nissan spokesperson Lloryn Love-Carter said, “Nissan respects this decision, and we remain focused on working with employees to drive our future forward together.”

The union in a statement a spokesperson provided said the delayed decision from the labour board – which came two years after IAM first filed a petition to represent the workers – had “a chilling effect” on the union’s campaign.

Unions have struggled for decades to unionize the Smyrna factory, which opened in 1983, and other auto plants in the U.S. South. In 1989 and 2001, workers in Smyrna voted overwhelmingly against joining the United Auto Workers union.