Nissan rejects State Department offer for UAW mediation

Article by Andrew Christian, on February 6, 2015

Nissan Motor Co. has denied an offer from the United States State Department to have it serve as a mediator in a dispute between the carmaker and the United Auto Workers. The union was joined by IndustriALL Global Union Federation in April 2014 in asking the State Department for its help.

The UAW has been, for over a decade, trying to organize Nissan’s site near Jackson in Mississippi, and has accused the carmaker of using "threats, intimidation and fear" to keep the union out of the plant, which it claims violate guidelines of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The UAW’s move to a global union group and the State Department in its bid to unionize workers at Nissan has been regarded part of its campaign to turn public opinion against the Japanese carmaker.

In a statement, the State Department said its role had ended since a voluntary mediation process could not be established as Nissan was not willing to participate with the State Department's National Contact Point (NCP), which works to further the OECD’s guidelines in the United States.

A Nissan spokesman told Reuters in an e-mail that the carmaker chose to reject the mediation since guidelines for “bringing a union vote” already exist and are set by the US National Labor Relations Board.

The statement said that all its workers have the ability to decide whether they want to be in a union. The NCP has no power to judge disputes that it is asked to mediate, which means any result of the mediation is non-binding.

Nissan’s Canton plant has up to 6,300 full-time and contract workers. The UAW remarked it may file objections to Nissan's behavior in Mississippi with OECD liaisons with governments in Japan, France and the Netherlands.

Topics: nissan, uaw

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