Saturday, August 5, 2017

unionizing effort flops

The United Auto Workers lost its bid to unionize a Mississippi auto plant yesterday. The vote was near 2-1 against unionizing.
CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Workers at Nissan Motor Co Ltd's (7201.T) plant in Canton, Mississippi, voted nearly two to one against union representation, the company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) said late on Friday.
The vote at the end of a bitterly contested campaign extended a decades-long record of failure by the union to organize a major automaker's plant in the U.S. South.
The vote at the Canton plant could leave the UAW weakened ahead of contract negotiations with the Detroit Three automakers in 2019, when many analysts are predicting a cyclical slump for U.S. auto sales.
Workers at the plant may sign in relief that their jobs are safe for the moment (there were allegations that workers were threatened with dismissal if they voted for the union) and that the dues payments will not be extracted from their paychecks. No one complained too much that the company had switched a tradition retirement plan to a 401(k) arrangement....

Everything is groovy until, one by one, people start to get fucked.

The union-averse South apparently caved in to a company that said approving a union might hamper its flexibility in doing business. That statement seems to mean they can give and take away jobs as the company sees fit and worker protections are unnecessary. The 401(k) gambit is now so ingrained in the business world that calling it out for the scam it is (more for the company, less for the worker) hardly finds a foot to stand on.

The South -- where Donald Trump (you remember -- the guy who stiffed the workers on his own real estate projects), aroused support and those supporters no doubt saw value in their master's approach. Yes, let us screw ourselves before the master does it for us.

It's a scary thing having your job threatened. I can't fault those who voted against the union ... except when I consider that living in fear is an awful bequest and pitting workers against workers is one of the handiest of management tools.

Look out 1920's and 1930's -- here we come.


  1. It's as if people everywhere are declining to take any responsibility. They surrender themselves to the great white father, whether in the sky or the boardroom.

  2. Charlie -- You may well be right, but having been in the midst of organizing efforts, I can still see the fear that pinches the faces of those who must put spaghetti on the table and feel uncertain they will succeed.

  3. I expect fear decided their votes, the threat of being fired if they unionized couldn't be ignored. And that threat was more immediate than a potential benefit promised by unionizing. They threw themselves on the mercy of the boss.

  4. 2 to 1 against; typical response of ignorant or misinformed people, they were easily intimated. Unless there was evidence of actual violence. Either way, the organizers failed their job.

  5. Andy -- I once thought much the same. Now I find it a tad righteous. Fear, like other beliefs, is not a mere trifle.