Reprinted from The New York Times by its Editorial Board on August 12, 2017.
“Workers at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, picked a bird in the hand when they recently voted against forming a union, and that’s understandable,”according to an editorial in The New York Times. “Veteran workers, who generally opposed the union, make $26 an hour. That is less than the nearly $30 an hour for similar autoworkers in unions at the major American carmakers — but almost twice the median hourly wage in Mississippi.
“This, in a nutshell, is what has made it so difficult to organize workers in the South. With employers and anti-union politicians telling them that unionization would threaten their jobs, Southern workers choose to stick with what they have rather than risk sharing the fate of their poorly paid neighbors. And while the threat does not square with reality, since major car plants worldwide are typically unionized, a majority of workers are not willing to call this bluff and organize for better wages and conditions.
“This dynamic stubbornly depresses wages in the South, and throughout the country. Even within Nissan in Canton, pay is trending down: While workers hired in the plant’s early years make about $26 an hour, workers hired more recently top out at $24 (and often make less). In addition, Nissan has hired thousands of contract workers who are paid less than employees. …