Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in Mississippi won’t stay in Mississippi, as far as Nissan is concerned.
The president of the largest labor federation in Brazil, representing 7.4 million workers, got a close-up look at the situation in Canton, Miss., last week, when he attended the meeting at Tougaloo College that was attended by nearly 500 people, along with the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan (MAFFAN).
“We’ve had a very revealing and important experience visiting with Nissan workers in Mississippi, learning about the conditions and abuses and the disrespect to both the workers and to the community,” said Vagner Freitas de Moraes, president of CUT (Central Unica dos Trabalhadores), the largest trade union in Brazil. Joao Cayres, international affairs secretary of CNM (Metalworkers Union), also visited.
Nissan has big plans in Brazil for expanding Renault production and will launch production of Nissan vehicles next year at a new plant. The company is hoping to achieve a large increase in market share.
But Brazilian trade unionists are determined that Nissan management’s campaign of fear and intimidation in Mississippi must stop. And the Brazilian public is not likely to embrace a company that suppresses workers' rights.
Freitas promised his new friends in Mississippi, “We’re going to be very engaged with the struggle to get union representation for Nissan workers here.”
Nissan works cooperatively with unions in many other nations, but what the company is doing in Mississippi raises grave concerns about Nissan’s true intentions with respect to global workers' rights. Is the Mississippi plan an experiment that Nissan will next export abroad?
Nissan unions in Brazil have decided: We have to draw the line in Mississippi.