Vermont senator, writing in the Guardian, says: ‘The truth is Nissan is an all-too-familiar story of how greedy corporations divide and conquer working people’
Bernie Sanders has attacked Nissan for doing “everything it can” to stop workers from unionizing at its Mississippi plant despite making “obscene” profits.
In an editorial for the Guardian, the former presidential hopeful weighs in as Nissan workers prepare to vote on joining the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.
Echoing union officials and their supporters, Sanders says Nissan’s campaign “could go down as one of the most vicious, and illegal, anti-union crusades in decades”.
Nissan is being investigated by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the independent US government agency responsible for enforcing US labor law, after warning workers they could lose wages and benefits if they back the union vote.
Other workers have been told they will receive increased benefits and pay if they vote against unionising. “Workers should never have to endure this type of threatening campaign or walk through a minefield just to vote for a union,” Sanders writes. “The truth is Nissan is an all-too-familiar story of how greedy corporations divide and conquer working people.”
The Nissan vote is the latest in a series of attempts by unions to grow membership in America’s south, where many manufacturers have moved to take advantage of low wages and non-union workforces. Unions have faced similarly hard-fought battles to gain recognition at plants run by Boeing and Volkswagen – and lost.
Sanders, the actor Danny Glover and leading labor officials have all campaigned in support of the UAW’s attempts to unionise the 800-strong plant.
Nissan has union representation in 42 of 45 of its plants throughout the world, writes Sanders. “But the company does not want unions in the US south, because unions mean higher wages, safer working conditions, decent healthcare, and a secure retirement.
“Corporations like Nissan know that if they stop workers in Mississippi from forming a union, wages will continue to be abysmally low in this state.”
Sanders says Nissan made $6.6bn in profits last year and paid its chief executive officer, Carlos Ghosn, more than $9.5m last year.
“Those kinds of obscene profits are a direct result of…