By: National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons & Mississippi Manufacturers Association President and CEO Jay C. Moon
The spirits of American manufacturing workers are rising. Our state and nation’s elected leaders are improving our competitive position in a 21st-century global marketplace. These efforts have resulted in a steady increase in new highly skilled, modern manufacturing jobs.
Like the nation, Mississippi’s industrial sector came under severe stress in 2010, decimating more than just the lives of manufacturing workers. Citizens in the state, left without paychecks, could not support community businesses. Parents lost the steady wages they relied on to take care of their families. Workers were unable to save for retirement.
Everyone in Mississippi felt the pain, heartache and depression that set in when the state’s industrial core was rocked by the Great Recession. However, Mississippians’ grit, determination and can-do work ethic combined to change the state’s future. Advanced manufacturing companies like Nissan pitched in by creating thousands of cutting edge, world class jobs.
Nissan’s Mississippi story is impressive. Employees at the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, enjoy some of the highest wages, best benefits and most stable jobs in the state. Nissan is also a community partner, donating more than $13.6 million to local charities and contributing more than 8,000 volunteer hours to over 200 local organizations. Their $3.3 billion investment in the Canton plant has strengthened the county and state. The unemployment rate in Madison County and the region is lower than the national average.
Since Nissan’s first day of operation, the company has continued to add secure, high paying jobs with significant benefits. Nissan currently employs 6,400 Mississippians, which collectively generates 25,000 jobs across the state. Across Mississippi, manufacturing accounts for more than 143,000 jobs, with an average annual compensation of more than $58,000. But there’s a movement afoot that threatens to reverse the good news benefiting our manufacturing employees and all those other workers they support—maybe even you.
The United Auto Workers wants to disrupt the positive work environment and community relationship built between Nissan and manufacturing employees in Mississippi.
We’ve seen this playbook before in other states: employers are targeted by criticisms that are deceptive and unfairly portray the strong records of pay, benefits and collaboration that are the hallmarks of a great manufacturing company. It’s not just a PR stunt gone bad or “fake news” without any consequence; it can have a real effect.
We want to keep manufacturing strong in Mississippi. Everyone, especially the local community, should be concerned. If something isn’t broken, why is an outside group trying to fix it?
Jay C. Moon is the president and CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, the largest voice for Mississippi manufacturers. Jay Timmons is president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, the unified voice of America’s manufacturers.