The United Auto Workers is holding a press conference Wednesday at the Geneva auto show to accuse Nissan Motor Co. of mistreating its non-union plant workers in the United States. However, UAW’s message in the auto show may not be passed along by international media, which are focusing their attention on sports cars and European luxury models.
The UAW’s move indicates that it intends to hound Nissan at international venues. The UAW’s press conference required the union to transport a UAW staff contingent and Mississippi organizers as well as a small number of Canton, Miss., employees to Switzerland to discuss Nissan's non-union U.S. operations.
The UAW is campaigning to unionize Nissan's 5,000-worker assembly plant in Canton, where it produces several vehicle models. The UAW recently met with workers at Nissan's Smyrna plant Tennessee.
Wednesday’s press conference is not the first time that the UAW used auto shows to air their fight with Nissan, as the union held a picket during the Detroit show in January 2013. The UAW claims that Nissan is attempting to intimidate its Canton workers into not going for an organizing vote.
Nissan, on the other hand, said that it holds an exemplary record in treating workers fairly. The UAW had failed twice to organize Nissan's workers in the US. Mississippi Nissan worker Michael Carter remarked that the carmaker lets them know that it does not want a union in the state.
He said that Nissan tries to scare workers about unions, implying that the plant will close if employees support a union. Carter quipped that there should be a fair process so that workers can make up their own minds. He noted that if Nissan recognizes unions in its plants around the world, it also should do so in Mississippi