For those wondering why Nissan workers voted down the union by nearly 2-1, or condemning them for it, they might consider this comment from Bob King, then UAW President, speaking to the Michigan Chamber of Commerce in 2011:
“We need to join together…. When we join together we can go down a path to true economic growth and prosperity…The 21st century UAW seeks and expects a partnership with the employers based on mutual respect trust & common goals….. embraces as our own the success of our employers…. I call on our friends in the business community… to reject this divisive ideological agenda that targets the unions of (public sector) workers; instead let us all work together as we did in the auto industry to find common solutions…. I want to challenge businesses to reexamine their instinctive negative reaction to the notion of unionization…. I sit on the AFL…. Jim and I believe in working with management… If we are going to succeed in America, we got to be honest about how the unions have changed and is business willing to change with the unions together.”
A few months later, that same leadership pushed through a concessionary contract – one of a long history of such contracts.
Think things have changed?
Just a few months ago, current UAW president, Dennis Williams, appeared alongside Trump when the latter
announced his preparing to cut emission standards for US cars. What message was Williams sending? Clearly, the same spoken message as that of King: “The industry’s success is our success. We’re on the same team.”
So Nissan workers simply took this message to its logical conclusion. If we’re all on the same team, then who needs a union?
NOTE: for those who are interested in this point of view, we recommend our pamphlet “What Happened to our Unions?” While it focuses mainly on the Carpenters Union, the points apply to the labor movement in general.