Nissan Workers In Mississippi Say No To Union (HBO)

Nissan Workers In Mississippi Say No To Union (HBO)

— On Friday, an attempt by the United Auto Workers union to organize a Nissan plant
in Canton, Mississippi collapsed. — Y’know, Nissan has fought an intense fight, and we fell short. — That may not sound like a surprise. The South is the home of the right-to-work movement, where cheap labor, anti-union laws,
and government incentives have lured factories for decades
and made it hard for unions to organize. But the argument in Canton came down to who offered the best path to prosperity
for the black working class. Evan McMorris-Santoro was there
for the final week of campaigning. — Tony Hobson lives the working class American life. — I go to work at Nissan from 11 ‘till 7. I get off at 7. I have a second job, by choice. I have to be there by 9. — Tony has worked at the Nissan plant for 15 years. It’s a good job for him— $28 an hour driving a forklift on the nightshift. The median hourly wage in Jackson is $15.34 an hour. The second job at U-Haul
is just for extra money, he says. — How’re you doing?
— Alright, how’re you doing? — Good. How can we help you this morning? — Tony is the type of guy the UAW
couldn’t convince to organize last week. — “Vote ‘no’ or you’ll be an unemployed autoworker”? — You’ll be UAW. — Pretty good. “World’s deadliest viruses: HIV and UAW.” That’s pretty strong. — Because when they get in you, that’s death. — The South attracts manufacturing, in part, because of how deep anti-union sentiment goes here. The Nissan plant— the first modern car factory in Mississippi— opened in 2003. — We are the union! — The UAW has failed in three attempts to organize
majority-white southern plants in the last 30 years. Organizers had a reason to believe
that Canton would be different. Black working class Americans are more likely than
any other demographic group to belong to a union. — The facility is 80 percent African-American. Their sister plant is in Tennessee, and they make $1.70 more than
the workers here in Canton, Mississippi. Why is there a disparity? — UAW organizing efforts started
not long after the plant opened, drawing in big names from
the black community to help: — You’ve taken your courage and used
that courage as a platform for change. — The message: unionizing Nissan is the next rung in the long climb to equality for black people in the deep South. That message works for Betty Jones. She’s an engine inspector at the plant
and has worked there for 14 years. Betty makes $26 an hour: — At the beginning, when we started this, I mean, my whole line was just— they were just “Yes.” But when Nissan started bringing in
those anti-union videos, I saw my coworkers, just… the look on their faces—
“Ms. Betty, I just can’t do it.” — One thing I’ve heard is this idea, that maybe the white workers don’t want a union with people
who are black telling them how they can work. — I tell people, if you look at the history of the UAW,
the UAW was started by white people. The reason we have this type of thing— health care— is because of the UAW. — One of the things we talk a lot about in politics
these days is the white working class, right? These are the guys who voted for Trump, these are the people who wanna talk a lot about it. And I wonder if you think there’s a difference between the white working class and
the black working class in this country. — Yeah, because, I mean, they just look at us like we aren’t
supposed to be in a leadership position. And I believe that if if the plant was 75 percent white, we’d probably have a union about 10 years ago. — People like Betty scared anti-union folks. Nissan and its allies waged an
expensive campaign against them. The effort caught the union off-guard. — The basic message is, if you do this,
you are going to lose your job. — Absolutely. Your livelihood. — But you can’t guarantee that’s not
going to happen though, right? — No. We’ve never guaranteed the workers anything. — A Nissan spokesperson told VICE News the UAW is “knowingly spreading falsehoods,” and “shamefully using the legacy of
the Civil Rights Movement to stir emotions.” Emotion-stirring is common in Mississippi
around the union. A Koch Brothers-funded ad campaign warns
a union would turn the area into Detroit. Republican Governor Phil Bryant
made it clear what that meant. There was a lot of conversation about
why a union was bad for black workers. — That worked for Tony. — I’m afraid of losing my job. Right now, I’ve got job security for 15 years, sir. We have not had a layoff. We have never missed a beat. — What do you think of their campaign? — They don’t have one. They wanna say, “They treat black people like slaves.” I have been driving an Infiniti for 15 years. I make great money— more money than people with degrees make down here. If that’s treated like a slave, then keep using me. — Race is a part of this conversation, isn’t it? Can you talk a bit about how
it’s part of the conversation for you? — It really is not, and that’s another tactic that the UAW
is using to try and get in the plant. — 1,307 workers voted for the union. 2,244 workers voted against it. For every Betty at the Nissan plant, there are two Tonys. — So you think that they were,
just in the end, too afraid? — Too afraid, yeah. — Do you think that other workers
in other factories across the South, who look at a situation like this, might say, “Look, this isn’t worth the trouble”? — I’m sure, yeah. Because everybody was looking at us. Didn’t happen this time.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Missouri just showed that unions are winning again. In this episode, we report on the successful fight against Missouri's Right to Work Law –

  2. They are not scared, they’re smart. 28$ per hour is a sweet spot and my man is not going to let it go for some job killing unions

  3. unions unfortunately have a bad wrap because of corruption. They started striking and bringing industry and countries to a standstill with their insistent demands.
    Organized crime also used unions as their own private bank.
    So corporations decided it was more profitable to ship everything to china then lower wages. And now you have millions who have been out of work.

  4. CONGRATULATIONS NISSAN!!! Keep those extortionists out of your life!!! Unions are corrupt pussies participating in what amounts to be "legalized extortionists"!!!

  5. A lack of unionization always results in fascism!
    I hate that this happened during desegregation but you are making it look like you're the problem when white people know better!

  6. Of course this gets morphed into a racial issue, this is about jobs purely. Unionize and the plant will just move to a place that won't. She makes 26 dollars an hour and lives in state with one of the lowest cost of living in the US….

  7. Ok Vice you're in my hometown, most of those workers are from Jackson, Jackson is 81% black and Canton itself is 70% black. Also I am familiar with the Nissan plant, there are no evil white overlords in that plant, the overlords in that plant are from South America and Japan. Many of the less skilled positions are temped out to agencies. The lowest paid worker in the building is making 35k a year which is not alot in California, but in Mississippi thats middle class a determined individual could half pay for a house in a year in that location with the lowest property taxes in the nation, also Mississippi is last in homelessness. Easily the best job in that area outside of the other common mid range jobs like police officers and paralegals.

  8. Funny 😄 part ppl like Tony is being laid off so hope he keep driving his infinity 🤷🏾‍♂️
    Nissan in Canton is really laying off

  9. My Dad is a trucker and his terminal unionized back in 2017. The trucker’s thought they’d do something to help, they haven’t done jack shit yet. On occasion they’ll have a protest at the gates, while grilling, to support unionizing other terminals. Then at 5, they’ll leave.

  10. Making 28 compared to the avg 15 in the area… hes making about 2X as much. Why risk that? Nissan is a business first and foremost

  11. 14 years in the company and she only earns $28.. she should be making $45 for the time she spent. It’s not fair.

  12. Unions killed the English car manufacturing industry dead cold.. Austin, Leyland, Morris, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Land Rover, Range Rover, Bentley, Jensen, Lotus, Triumph, Rover, TVR, Hillman, Ford, Vauxhall etc etc etc… All dead, made elsewhere if still made at all. Detroit similarities hmmm? I think the Morgan and Noble are the only genuine british cars left which are niche market vehicles built by hand by genuine craftsman.
    Nissan chose a recent plant there for a reason, they have little reason to stay if push comes to shove.

  13. I’m from Detroit and work in a ford plant with his years in and driving a fork lift he should be close to $40/hr

  14. That's awesome we are also trying to get out of the union at our plant in Pa, our local is a joke 50 bucks a month out of our pay for nothing but the head guy showing up in his 80,000 dollar BMW, 60% of the plant signed the paper to begin to say goodbye to the union for good and the lazy fucks are nervous as hell 😊

  15. Unions are more about money. It’s about getting fair treatment. It’s about getting what you deserve. True, typically union workers make more than non-unions at the same points in their careers. Unions do have to pay dues, however, think of it as the way you pay for your benefits. My union has healthcare, dental, optical, perscription plan, pension, retirement fund (deferred comp), vacation pay, PTO and more. It’s for the people, by the people

  16. No union is good, good on you Tony.
    Our car workers union here in Australia killed the car industry. We don’t make a SINGLE car anymore.

  17. Workers using collective bargaining to protect their interests against excessively greedy employers has been demonized to the point that most people consider it to be "Socialism". Thanks to the brainwashing process that culminated during the Reagan administration, unions are dead in America & our jobs are gone…

  18. This is about people wanting to keep their fucking jobs.. do you have to make everything about race?

  19. I used to work foe the union in ups trust me union workers are slaves! We've got to all take a stand! No reason and spoiled brat can make millions shooting.a ball but people busting.their ass working harder gets shit pay!

  20. no unions. pawns and servants should faithfully carry out their duty. safety and wages are already governed by state and fed law.

  21. So the union promised nothing and expected to win?

    I work pretty much the same 11-7 forklift operator job. Just in a food production instead of cars.

    We are unionized, its good for me because without the union there wouldn't be a mandatory wage across the board based on position with yearly raises.
    Great fully paid for heath plan that's even better than the managements plan and we get up to 6 weeks vacation. Any layoffs are based on seniority.

    Costs $12 a week to the union, so its worth it for me.

  22. Larbor is a part of business. We negotiate that labor for wages. Trusting the landowners to pay us fair?? How you know what they make? Simple math and simple business. If your profit margins are above the nominal average that generates wage increase. The share holder kickbacks are negotiated, they put a contract for a return on investment, why dont you non union people understand its business. Labor is part of doing business. Go to walmart or mcdonalds do they work with unions and so they tell you what you make and what hours and for what a job that they can replace you with because you got zero representation. Contracts are in writing and are your legal defense itsall about getting a legal binding contract. They do this when they purchase from suppliers or buy materials to build those vehicles. They get a legal binding contract to outline the terms of service or product pricing. Same goes for a labor union you obtain a collective bargaining agreement…that is your contract which goes into further detail beyond federal working protections and gives you more job security. Be afraid of what you can accomplish is what I hear. Unionize before they use automated forklifts and replace you… Do it. 💯

  23. VICE its not about race its about Money. Right to work allows for more job opportunities. Once you unionize jobs are cut by automation and sent oversees.

  24. I'm a college educated professional and only make $2 per hour than him. Wtf are these workers trying to unionize for? Unions are cancer.

  25. I can't relate personally. I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to be able to bargain and have a collective voice in the workplace and be protected under a contract and have representation. Hey if they are happy and feel they don't need a union more power to them. I've worked both union and non-union and from my experience union is the way to go.

  26. Ask yourself how Toyota makes cars in the United States yet can still move lots of product and remain profitable. They don't have a union. Now look at GM where the union labor has gotten so expensive that they are closing plants and moving production into other countries. Unions are beneficial in some ways but in the case of the UAW, they have gotten to the point where it's just too expensive for these companies to employ their labor.

  27. If this goes on, you can predict this will become another Detroit and sooner made the america production line only interested in high-tech good income industry.

  28. The only reason he is getting 28 dollars an hour is because of the threat of a union – with no threat he will be getting 5 dollars a day – trump and barr using the doj to go after unions for the elites – elites hate unions – they want to bust them – then they can bring jobs back from china and pay americans 1 dollar a day and make them attack each other for the right to get it – wake up morons – busting unions is not in the best interest of the workers- once again your being conned. take away the unions and the workers may as well start collecting corrugated metal to build their slum houses with – maybe the elites will let you clean their pool

  29. Unions are parasites. I speak as someone who has had union negotiations experience for the union I belonged to.

  30. Hey dont need to sto there investigating uaw. They nedd to come to Houston and investigate usw and all the union in Houston. I think all of them are taking under the table money and selling out the worker to the companies.

  31. The big companies will find something on you to fire you if you open your mouth about something. And usw is our union. How do you give 4 other departments a raise and not give packaging and shipping a raise and tell us to go three yesrs without a raise. And we all are union members. How do that picture looks. So we have webt three years without a raise packaging and shipping. But we have a union. Time is out for unions. The company need to treat the hourly worker the same way they do the salary worker. All need to get the same rewards as they do. We are the ones do the back braking work in those 118 degree plants in the summer while there in the air conditioning offices

  32. Just remember it was a union that had McDonnell Douglas so tired of union BS they just shut down, ALL OF IT. Gave them the finger and said up yours.

  33. What's with the race? I want to know how much that lady as an engine inspector makes an hour and about her health care in her retirement package and then compare it to what UAW is offering. I don't want to hear about your racial garbage

  34. Plant in Tennessee voted no on union also.
    It's not a race issue.
    People in the south see what unions did to auto plants up north.

    Plants are paying far above the local income to keep employees happy and unions out.

    If unions and Democratic ran states were successful Detroit should be the gold standard.

  35. unions had a place back in the day but nowadays unions are corrupt and just protect the lazy from getting fired. screw the unions

  36. I drive an Infiniti for 15 years I make great money I work a second job just to die faster not because I need the money lol come on dude

  37. Look what they did to Pontiac & Flint, Michigan also!! Everywhere they show up & anchor in… the leaches destroy relationships between the workers & Corporations!! So proud of Nissan!! BTW… it is **NOT A RACIAL ISSUE!** So get over that race card! **PERIOD!** This article is what it's all about: –>

  38. My union did nothing for me and took there money from my check every month worthless Union they should be of protected and help now a Strike.

  39. At the Rising cost of everything inflation and the nightmare Congress and the United States has caused, $28 is crapp, 35 to $45 an hour for everyone hooray hooray!

  40. GM workers are going on strike. Would organizing have made these workers walk out too? Even if they are happy at their jobs? I thought there was a time I felt unions necessary, but I'm not sure now. IF these guys are happy leave them alone.

  41. the problem is these guys making 28 an hour to drive a forktruck are few and far between. 70% of that plant is either a temporary company in there doing the same job and topping out around 19 an hour or people that have been there long enough to convert over yet they still make about 4 dollars less than the traditional people working there. They are doing the same job for substantially less an hour. I get you have to put your time in to make the money but anyone hired in the last 10 years at least to do the same jobs never have the chance to make that money. as a temp hiring onto nissan full time it takes 7 years to top out at your lower pay rate when it took the traditional guys only 3 years to get to their top out.

  42. The Unions use to be a good thing until their leadership started playing golf with the company's CEO. They also play "ball" with the CEO. Also, Unions have been in bed with democrats for decades. This isn't good when today's democrats are socialists who will ruin the economy.

  43. Stop Stop Stop!
    1. If your union b!tches and threatens any employer to go on strike, your employer will more likely hire someone else(cheaper pay) REAL QUICK before you even have time to hold your picket signs b!tching in the streets lol lol lol.

    2. You pay lots of money every check thinking the union has got your back. When your union
    b!tches for higher wages, This will more likely cause your company to fail…then you're unemployed. Don't get greedy!!

    3. COUNTLESS jobs will be glad to offer health insurance, over time pay and other incentives without unions.

    4. Unions give $$$$$$$$$ to Democrats so they get elected. Once elected, they help unions…and around it goes again.

    5. Unions demand your co-workers are to be promoted 1st on the basis of seniority(NOT by qualifications/experience/skills). So….chances will be bossed around by a Complete Dumbass. Thanks a lot union morons!

  44. Just look at what UAW did for GM in Detroit? Unions are rife with corruption and will squeeze a company dry. On the surface unions seem great, but in reality they're nothing more than collectivists (Communists).

  45. Apparently everything is white peoples fault. We live in a country where 63 percent of it's people are constantly sit talked and nothing comes of it, try that in other countries, you can't even bad talk the government without a problem

  46. A vote to unionize shouldn’t even be close … its more than about wages and benefits, it’s about brotherhood, respect, and an equal bargaining power…. that’s why police officers have a union, as well as firefighters, and teachers… a union is the many speaking as one voice

  47. Okay let's address the elephant in the room. People in the South are not all known for their high level of intelligence. LOL

  48. In in the AFCME union, it's terrible. We vote on contracts that the union changes on their own. There's no way to talk to board members. They allowed the governor of my state to take money outta our pension fund twice, which was never paid back, and I bet the union gotta a big chuck of the money they took.
    Not to mention that our pay is way below what non union shops pay.

  49. They will just take the plant somewhere else I wouldn’t want a union either 28 bucks an hour? To drive a forklift? With benefits in the poorest state in the country? The unions are a mafia

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