UAW Spins 26 Percentage-Point Defeat By Nissan Workers As Just ‘A Few Hundred Votes’

Union spent years trying to organize auto ‘transplant’ factories in South — and was blown out

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel characterized his union’s failed effort to organize a Nissan factory in Canton, Mississippi, earlier this month as only “a few hundred votes” away from being successful.

In a recent Detroit News column, Casteel suggested that the pro-union Nissan employees were narrowly defeated due to company efforts to intimidate voters. He claimed that Nissan shared anti-union messages with employees and warned the plant might closed if it were unionized.

“Under these conditions, it was impossible for Nissan employees to have a free and fair election,” Casteel wrote in the column. “Despite this setback, the UAW will maintain forward momentum in the South. We now have more than 55,000 members in the region — including nearly 3,000 who joined since 2014.”

ForTheRecord says: Except the vote wasn’t even close. The actual tally at Nissan’s Canton plant was 2,244 opposed to becoming unionized and 1,307 in favor, a difference of more than 900 votes. In percentage terms, 63 percent opposed unionization and 37 percent were in favor.

To put that 26 percent margin in perspective, consider the 1984 presidential election. Ronald Reagan defeated Walter Mondale in one of the biggest landslide victories ever. Reagan won 58.8 percent of the popular vote while Mondale had 40.6 percent, an 18.2 percent gap.

The UAW’s defeat in Canton is its second failed attempt at unionizing a foreign-owned automaker since 2014, when workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted against joining the union.