The UAW is stepping up their organization efforts at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi plant by taking their campaign to…Geneva?
Automotive News took a look at the UAW’s bizarre effort at flying Nissan workers from Canton, along with members of the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan (MAFFAN), which is apparently “…an organization representing clergy, elected officials, civil rights activists and students”, to help hand out leaflets and raise awareness about the efforts to bring collective bargaining to Canton.
Rather than brand the campaign as simply a UAW organizing drive, MAFFAN is engaging in some serious hyperbole, with MAFFAN member Reverend Melvin Chapman describing the campaign as
”…the civil rights fight of our time – the right to have a free and fair election process, one without fear. We are bringing Mississippi to Geneva to let Nissan know that what is happening in Mississippi is unacceptable.”
Aside from the myriad causes that one could conceivably argue as being “the civil rights fight of our time”, depending on one’s political leanings, the UAW’s attempts to organize Canton are ultimately a local issue, particular to American labor relations. Yet the UAW decided to spend what must be an excessive sum (and I know this having gone to Geneva to cover the Auto Show in the past. Bertel and others who have gone can also vouch for this) to send UAW staffers, union organizers and “…a small number of Canton, Miss. employees…” to Geneva to engage in a protest that is inconsequential to nearly everyone attending the show. Meanwhile, the cost of flights (expensive), hotels (insanely expensive, if one can even be found), meals (a cup of coffee will run $7-$8 alone), rental cars and any other expenses incurred will undoubtedly add up to a hefty bill.
This may not be the last of it either. According to AN the Geneva protest “…underscored how the union intends to hound Nissan at international venues…”, suggesting that jet-set junkets under the guise of social justice campaigns may be the new normal for the UAW and their allies. Then again neither is it UAW President Bob King’s first foray into silly publicity stunts or international labor matters. I can’t imagine that many UAW members are too thrilled about where their dues are going, nor is a world tour for King and his cronies a great recruiting tool to organize transplant employees.
But as one of TTAC’s chief union sources has long maintained, the union leaders are ultimately politicians. And we all know that profligacy, entitlement and indulgence come with that territory.