By: Jay C. Moon, CEcD, FM, HLM
President and CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association
With recent headlines put out by the UAW, it is clear we are going to hear a lot about a Nissan that nobody in Central Mississippi knows. We won’t hear the UAW talk about how Nissan Canton started an economic boom positioning Mississippi as a global leader in advanced manufacturing. We won’t hear Nissan has some of the highest wages in the state and has transformed our economy with an impact of a nearly $3 billion annually. We won’t hear that Nissan was named one of Diversity Inc.’s Top 25 Noteworthy Companies for 2016. We won’t hear how auto jobs and investment are shifting from Michigan, Ohio and coming to Mississippi because of Nissan.
Rather than talk about how the UAW can benefit workers, the UAW has come into Mississippi and told tales of what is wrong with Nissan. The reason that UAW doesn’t focus on what it can do for Nissan workers is because the UAW track record shows they cannot deliver on their promises. Nissan workers won’t hear about the announcements of UAW layoffs in Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. These aren’t layoffs in 2008 – these layoffs are in 2017. That’s right – despite an automotive market with record sales in 2016, Ford, GM and Chrysler plants represented by the UAW are laying off workers.
Make no mistake – this campaign is not about the hard working Mississippians at Nissan – this is about a self-serving outsider campaign by a UAW desperate to survive. UAW membership has dropped by over 70% since the 1980’s. With right-to-work laws now in Michigan, Indiana, more workers are choosing to opt out of their union dues because they simply do not see the benefits. Fewer members mean fewer dues and the UAW has to do something. They see Nissan workers’ paychecks as their final lifeline.
Over the coming weeks, it is paramount that we remember what Nissan has meant for our state and the opportunities it has created for Mississippians. Nissan has delivered on its promises to Mississippi and no outsider is going to change that.