Nissan Hit With New NLRB Complaint Days Before Vote

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By Jaclyn Diaz

The NLRB issued a new complaint against Nissan July 28 just days before workers at the automaker’s Canton, Miss., plant are to vote on union representation, the UAW announced ( Nissan North Am. Inc. , N.L.R.B., No. 15-CA-145043, complaint issued 7/28/17 ).

The unfair labor practice allegations say Nissan threatened a loss of wages and benefits and threatened to close the plant if employees support the union, the United Auto Workers said July 31. Workers at the plant will vote Aug. 3 and 4 on whether to join the union.

The UAW has tried to organize workers at the Canton plant since the early 2000s and has struggled for decades to win representation at a foreign-car manufacturing facility in the South.

Nissan Says Communications Legal

The company disputed the union’s claims.

“Today, the UAW has launched another set of baseless allegations against Nissan Canton and threatened to issue more,” Brian Brockman, a spokesman for Nissan, said in a statement. “We anticipate the UAW may even now attempt to block this week’s election and take the opportunity for a timely vote away from employees, as they did with MGM workers in Tunica, Mississippi in 2016. Those workers ultimately rejected the UAW.”

Brockman was referring to an organizing effort at MGM Gold Strike Casino in which the UAW filed a complaint against the company that delayed an election.

Both the union and Nissan are punching up efforts to lobby employees as the election nears.

“Everyone hoped Nissan would live up to its commitments over the years and allow Canton workers the right to cast a ballot free from company coercion and interference,” Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW, said in a statement July 31. “But after seeing threats and intimidation escalate this month, it’s now clear that Nissan has no intention of letting employees vote in a free and fair election.”

The union alleges that since mid-July, supervisors at the plant have pressured employees in group and one-on-one meetings and through broadcasting anti-union videos at the plant.

The company says its communications with workers are legal and have not been threatening or intimidating. The meetings are meant to be informative, to explain both sides of the issue to voters, Nissan says.

Nissan has hired Littler Mendelson to help craft its message to employees, sources told Bloomberg BNA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jaclyn Diaz in Washington at jDiaz@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bna.com

Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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