Tenn Nissan Workers Move to Unionize – St. Louis Oil Workers Strike – More on Amazon Union Vote

Factory workers install vehicle parts on an assembly line at the Nissan Motor Co. Manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

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Tenn. Nissan Workers Move to Unionize 

Union fever may be spreading throughout the South. 

At the Nissan plant in Smyrna, 25 miles outside of Nashville, a group of 87 tool and die machine technicians are seeking to unionize with the Machinists Union. 

“A union contract will ensure fair wages, benefits, working conditions and the ability to retire with dignity,” said Tim Wright, a machinists union Grand Lodge representative and lead campaign organizer, in a statement announcing the drive. 

If successful, they would be the first Nissan workers to organize in the US. 

A union victory in Smyrna could open the door to more union organizing at Nissan’s two plants in Tennessee as well as their non-union plant in Canton, Mississippi, where the union was defeated in 2017. 

(See Payday & franknews’  recent interview with Nissan worker Morris Mock on the defeat of the union drive in Mississippi in 2017.) 

St. Louis Oil Workers Strike 

In St. Louis, 25 members of Teamsters Local 618 are on strike at Valvoline over plans that would require workers to pay up to $7,000 in health care deductibles every year. 

“This is the largest increase ever imposed for a deductible through their health insurance,” Teamster Local 618 Principal Officer Derek Kropp told St. Louis’ Labor Tribune. “We have families with kids that never reach $7,000 a year in healthcare expenses. The deductible is outrageous.”

For more, head to the Labor Tribune. 

Fresno Health Officials Tipped Off Foster Farms About Inspection

A new exposé reveals that during the largest COVID outbreak in Fresno, when at least 22 Foster Farms workers were hospitalized, local Fresno health officials tipped off Foster Farms that state officials were coming to inspect the plant. From the Fresno Bee: 

Dozens of emails obtained by The Fresno Bee through a Public Records Act request show that during the outbreak at the South Cherry Avenue plant that infected hundreds, health officials tipped off company executives about a Cal/OSHA inspection, coordinated media talking points during the crisis, withheld information from the public and issued no corrective actions.

At least five people who worked at the South Cherry Avenue plant have died in connection to the virus, according to data provided by the company and Cal/OSHA. At least 22 people who worked at Foster Farms’ Fresno facilities have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 related complications to date.

For more, go to the Fresno Bee. 

HuffPo’s Dave Jamieson Investigates Alabama Organizing Efforts 

My friend Dave Jamieson, a veteran HuffPost labor reporter, just got back from Bessemer with a dispatch on the intensity of union organizing efforts there: 

“Every gate is really important. It’s how you start organizing,” said José Aguilar, a union representative stationed at an entrance one day last week.

Aguilar, 48, was working the evening shift as the sun set and the temperature hung near 70 degrees ― the most pleasant weather he could ask for while standing on a sidewalk for a few hours. He held a union sign and waved as a worker leaving the parking lot pulled up to the traffic light, headed home. Aguilar’s colleagues stood at two other spots down the road. 

He tried to explain why he’s stood at the entrances since the fall, sometimes for 10 consecutive days.

“If [workers] stop and have questions, we answer the questions,” Aguilar said. “If they come and we left, and they don’t see nobody, they’re gonna say, ‘They don’t care.’”

For more, go to HuffPost. 

Alright folks, that’s all for today. Keep sending story ideas, tips, and comments to [email protected] 

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Love & Solidarity,

Melk

About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: [email protected]

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