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Will Nissan Be UAW’s First Target?

Organizing “transplants” critical to union’s future.

by on Dec.08, 2011

UAW President Bob King knows it will be difficult to organize the transplants.

As important as it was to win new contracts from Detroit’s Big Three over the summer, United Auto Workers Union President Bob King has made it clear that the “most important” goal during his tenure will be to begin the long-stalled process of organizing the foreign-owned “transplant” assembly lines that now dot the American landscape.

In the more than quarter century since the first, a Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio, opened, only three have voluntarily accepted the UAW – all because they were U.S.- Japanese joint ventures, one of which has now closed. Efforts to organize the other foreign-owned factories have failed, so far.

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Now, it seems, the UAW is ready to try again, and while King told the Associated Press there’s no deadline nor official target, the wire report says it is “crystal clear” to union leaders that they need begin by targeting Japan’s second-largest automaker, Nissan.

It wouldn’t be the first time.  But an earlier drive at the maker, which operates assembly plants in Mississippi and Tennessee – the latter near its U.S. headquarters – fell flat when workers voted the union down. This time, the UAW appears to be hoping to tap worker frustration at the Canton, Mississippi plant where it claims the company is committing what the union described as both civil and human rights violations.

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