The automotive industry has brought over 55,000 jobs to the state of Mississippi and with the Canton Nissan Plant’s upcoming UAW vote, some people are wondering what will happen if the UAW come in.
“While the Nissan plant has been a huge success story, they are battling now the UAW which on the other hand has been a story of failing membership, not growing and not really providing the services that members have come to expect, yet they are trying to regain relevance and unfortunately we see it as they could be doing it at the expense of Nissan Canton’s competitiveness,” said Scott Waller, Interim President and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council.
Waller said the UAW vote could impact Mississippi’s overall competitiveness as well.
Many employees are also concerned about what impact their presence could have on jobs.
“There’s no guarantee what will happen,” said Adrian Quesnot, a tool and die technician at the Canton Nissan Plant. “The thing that is for certain is that if the union was to be voted in, then everything would be on the table for negotiations. Our pay rates and our vacation.”
Quesnot who says he has done extensive personal research into the UAW does not see a positive side of joining the auto union.
“There’s really nothing by law that they can protect you with, because you are still, as I said, a Nissan employee,” said Quesnot. “If times get bad and the economy drops, Nissan can still lay us off. They can close the doors and go elsewhere. There’s no guarantee by the union being here about anything other than you are going to pay dues and you are going to have to follow, by law, their constitution and bylaws. You have to do what they say when they say it. If they say we strike, then we strike.”
Instead, Quesnot said he wants to keep his voice.
He said without a union, he is able to make his own choice on whether to stay or leave if he disagrees with something happening at work.
“But, what a lot of people do not realize is that if the UAW comes into Canton and as a conglomerate, they decide there is going to be a strike if you are a member, you have to strike,” said Quesnot. “Even if you have a family at home and you need to pay your bills, you have to strike. If you cross that line as a UAW member you can have fines and penalties imposed upon you, that’s held by the law. You don’t have a voice. You can’t say I need to work. If you’re a member you have to strike.”
News Mississippi reached out to UAW advocates and are waiting for a response.