United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams wrote an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press this week attempting to make sense of a resounding loss for his union. In a vote late last week more nearly 2/3rds of the 3,500 workers at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi voted against union representation, ending one of the most bitterly fought labor battles in recent years.
The majority of Nissan’s workers in Mississippi are Black. And, of all the manufacturing plants that the company owns worldwide, only the US-based factories are non-unionized.
The UAW poured huge amounts of resources into the union bid. Understanding why the vote failed so badly is key to organized labor’s future.
Marc Bayard, Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and the director of the Institute’s Black Worker Initiative. He was the founding Executive Director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University.