“Unions function as labor cartels”
Having worked their destructive magic in Detroit, the United Auto Workers union (UAW) has set its greedy sights on the South. Roundly rejected by Tennessee workers at a Volkswagen auto plant in 2014, the UAW picked itself up, dusted itself off, and redoubled its thirteen-year efforts at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi.
The South has long rejected unions, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union who tried and failed to unionize Boeing workers in South Carolina last month. But the UAW is undeterred, even dragging avowed socialist and failed presidential candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination down from Vermont to try to convince Mississippians that he—and the UAW—knows what is in their best interests.
On March 4th, they held a “March on Mississippi” in order to garner support for unionization and thereby getting, at long last, a foothold in the South.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders joined a rally for organized labor at a Nissan auto plant in Mississippi on Saturday, calling on the Japanese automaker to drop its opposition to workers unionizing.
Sanders joined other liberal groups, including the Sierra Club and the NAACP, in signing a letter to Nissan, challenging the company to allow workers the right to freely decide whether to join the United Auto Workers, and to improve workplace safety at its plant in Canton, Miss.
“These workers have shown incredible courage in standing up and fighting back, and they deserve my support — and I think they deserve support from progressives all across this country,” Sanders told Bloomberg News on Friday.
Sanders has long been an advocate of unionization. This is unsurprising given his long-standing admiration and emulation of the former Soviet Union and Cuba, affinities that extend beyond his well-publicized honeymoon-business trip to the Soviet Union, his days as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and back to his college days as a member of the Young People’s Socialist League.
His speech at the rally focused on the usual socialist line that giving power and wealth to unions (and government) is far better than self-determination and individual liberty, that businesses are evil and workers’ unions are something akin to selfless, noble, and altruistic.
Apparently convinced by Hillary’s deft and successful (?) use of celebrities to win votes, the UAW even had actor Danny Glover down there telling the Nissan workers that they are being exploited.
— Candace S. Coleman (@candacescoleman) March 4, 2017
The rally also featured actor and activist Danny Glover, who said in a statement that workers at Nissan’s Mississippi factory are being mistreated.
“The company has committed rampant safety and health violations and denied its workers their basic right to vote for a union free from fear and intimidation,” Glover said.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued two citations for workplace safety hazards at the plant.
While Nissan acknowledged the safety complaints and said it is working with OSHA to resolve them, the company denied it has violated workers’ rights to unionize.
“The allegations made by the union are totally false,” Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman said in an email. “Nissan respects and values the Canton workforce, and our history reflects that we recognize the employees’ rights to decide for themselves whether or not to have third-party representation.”
The drive to unionize workers in right to work states is rooted in the UAW’s staggering decline in membership in recent decades. If they can’t get a foothold in the South, they may well not survive.
[T]he struggle for “civil rights” sounds far more noble and desirable than what is actually happening in Canton and across the landscape of foreign-owned automobile manufacturing plants in the South — which is a desperate struggle for survival by a weakened labor union that has endured a 75 percent membership decline since 1979.
With Detroit now a bankrupt remnant of the Golden Age of American automobile manufacturing, the UAW now must literally find a new host on which to feed for union dues. The right-to-work states in the South are the prime targets, and the foreign-owned manufacturers that helped build “Detroit South” are truly the only possible salvation of the desperate UAW.
The bottom line is that the UAW is a union in decline that must infiltrate Southern auto plants to survive. They want to take from the success of these transplanted auto factories in the South to perpetuate their own organizations – and they want to do so in the name of the nobility of civil rights.
What the UAW and Sanders don’t address is the fact that Nissan has been a boon to the local economy.
The Meridian Star continues:
Since opening in 2003, Nissan has employed more than 6,000 Mississippians and created an additional 2.9 jobs for every job at the plant. A 2016 study by Mississippi State University’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center shows approximately 25,000 direct and indirect jobs created throughout Mississippi that link to Nissan. Nissan also generates $300 million in annual state and local tax revenues.
Nissan adds $2.9 billion to the annual state GDP – up from $2.5 billion in 2013. Median family income is up in Madison County by $2,673 ($75,673 now vs $73,000 in 2013) – national average is $65,443. Median family income in Detroit, Michigan in 2015 was $68,516.
This is a business fight over unionizing an automobile manufacturing plant, nothing more and nothing less. The union hopes that global companies like Nissan will simply buckle under weight of false claims of civil rights violations and capitulate — creating higher membership numbers and bolstering the revenue stream of the UAW.
Unionization tends to have a negative impact not only on workers (by limiting the number that companies can afford to hire) but also on the local economy.
Unions function as labor cartels, restricting the number of workers in a company or industry to drive up the remaining workers’ wages. They also retard economic growth and delay recovery from recession. Over time, unions destroy jobs in the companies they organize and have the same effect on business investment as does a 33 percentage point corporate income tax increase.
As unions destroy jobs, cities, and local economies, they have to move on from areas they’ve sucked dry to find new members to keep up the revenue stream, and the dire straights in which the UAW finds itself—due in no small part to its own greed and unreasonable demands—has resulted in a “coalition” of leftist groups, including Black Lives Matter, descending on Canton, Mississippi.
They have organized a community coalition, the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan, that includes #BlackLivesMatter activists, church groups, the Sierra Club, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The coalition is calling for a mobilization not seen in the south since the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
More than 80% of Nissan’s workers in Canton are black. A win at Nissan could be a game-changer. On Saturday, they had a guest speaker.
“If we can win here at Nissan, you will give a tremendous bolt of confidence to working people all over this country,” Bernie Sanders told a crowd of 5,000. “If you can stand up to a powerful multinational corporation in Canton, Mississippi, workers all over this country will say, ‘We can do it, too.’”
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