Court decision gives boost to fight against Missouri’s new anti-union law

The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District handed the state’s labor unions a victory on July 28 when it ruled against plaintiffs seeking to block a statewide referendum on the state’s new right-to-work law.

The Appeals Court overturned an earlier Circuit Court ruling that sided with opponents of the referendum. Opponents claimed that the summary of the referendum written by the secretary of state and approved by the state’s attorney general was unclear.

The Appeals Court acknowledged that there were some problems with the summary but that the problems did not affect its clarity.

The state AFL-CIO praised the Appeals Court’s ruling and said that it will continue collecting signatures on petitions to put the referendum on the November 2018 ballot.

The referendum will give Missouri voters the opportunity to veto the newly enacted right-to-work law.

If the AFL-CIO collects at least 100,126 valid signatures on the referendum petition before August 28 when the new law becomes effective, implementation of the new law will be delayed until after the election.

Gov. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in February signed the anti-union, right-to-work law after it was passed by the Republican dominated legislature.

Passage of the new law came after what the Kansas City Star described as “decades-long push by Republicans and business groups.”

The new law is called a right-to-work law, but it has little to do with protecting a person’s right to work. Its only purpose is to weaken unions.

The new law allows workers to enjoy the benefits of union membership–wages and benefits negotiated by a union, union grievance representation, etc.–without paying union dues.

Union dues provide resources that unions need to stand up for worker rights. Paying union dues is also an act of solidarity, and worker solidarity is the source of union power. Without it, the boss dictates the terms and conditions of employment.

Hours after Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed the law into effect, the state AFL-CIO and state NAACP filed for a referendum on the new law with the Missouri secretary of state.

The secretary of state wrote a summary of the proposed referendum and sent it to the attorney general for review.

After the review was complete, the secretary of state in March approved a petition for the referendum. The wording of the petition was based on the secretary of state’s summary.

In April, the AFL-CIO began collecting signatures on the petition.

In order to keep voters from voting on referendum, three plaintiffs represented by the National Right to Work Foundation filed suit charging that the secretary of state’s summary contained grammatical errors that made the purpose of the referendum unclear.

The National Right to Work Foundation is affiliated with the National Right to Work Committee, which is funded by Charles and David Koch, the Walton family, which owns Walmart, and other anti-union business people.

The reason that these business leaders want states to pass right to work laws is that workers in states that have right to work laws earn less money and have fewer benefits than their counterparts in non-right to work states.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, full-time, full-year workers in right-to-work states are paid $1558 a year less than comparable workers in states that do not have right-to-work laws.

Another study by EPI found that the rate of employers that offer health insurance benefits is 2.6 percent lower in right-to-work states than in non right-to-work states.

A Missouri Circuit Court in June heard the plaintiffs’ suit and ruled in their favor.

After the ruling, the AFL-CIO continued to circulate the referendum petition, but there was some question about how the judge’s ruling would affect the validity of the signatures gathered.

That question was rendered moot when the Appeals Court ruled against the plaintiffs and allowed the wording of the summary to stand.

Meanwhile, the union’s petition drive is entering its home stretch. The petitions must be submitted before August 28 when the new law goes into effect.

The AFL-CIO has scheduled petition mobilizations for the weekends that remain before the deadline.

After the Appeals Court announced it ruling, Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he was confident that the petition drive will succeed and that people will have a chance to vote on the new law in 2018.

Advertisements

NYC hospital workers urge employer to drop Waldner’s

Union health care workers at New York Presbyterian Hospital on July 18 rallied to support locked out truck drivers and warehouse workers who are fighting for their jobs.

The truck drivers and warehouse workers work for Waldner’s Business Environments, an office furniture dealer based in Farmingdale, New York.

Waldner’s sells furniture to a number of large institutions in New York City including the City University of New York (CUNY), New York Life, Columbia University, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Estee Lauder, and Spotify.

Waldner’s biggest client is New York Presbyterian Hospital, which operates ten hospitals in the New York metropolitan area.

On July 18, New York Presbyterian nurses, doctors, and other health care workers joined members of Teamsters Local 814 in a rally outside of the New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in Upper Manhattan to demand that the hospital stop doing business with Waldner’s until it reinstates the locked out workers and bargains with them in good faith.

“I’ve delivered furniture to New York Presbyterian for nine years,” said Jim Awgul, a truck driver who has worked at Waldner’s for 31 years. “It hurts to see the hospital do nothing while Waldner’s fires me and my coworkers to replace us with cheaper subcontractors. If New York Presbyterian really cares about the community, they won’t do business with a company that is violating our rights.”

A few days before the rally, Jill Furillo, executive director of the New York Nurses Association sent a letter to New York Presbyterian’s CEO urging him “to reconsider your business relationship with this abusive and anti-union employer.”

Waldner’s Business Environments is a third generation woman owned business that by all accounts is a thriving and profitable business.

In its corporate profile, it states that it respects its employees and “encourage(s) growth and advancement while fostering a healthy work-life balance.”

That statement may sound hollow to Kevin Roach, who has worked for Waldner’s for 33 years.

“I don’t know how New York Presbyterian Hospital can stand by while quality health coverage is taken away from the workers delivering its furniture,” said Roach, who is also a Teamsters shop steward. “My son has Down Syndrome and a compromised immune system. My family desperately needs the health care that Waldner’s took away. We need New York Presbyterian’s help, but they are saying it’s not their problem.”

Despite being a profitable business, Waldner’s earlier this year decided to end its relationship with Local 814, fire its 20 full-time and 20 part-time warehouse workers, truck drivers, and helpers, and contract out its delivery services to a lower-wage subcontractor.

When the collective bargaining agreement between the Teamsters and Waldner’s expired on June 30, the workers were thrown out on the street.

But the union and its workers are fighting back.

Their main focus is disrupting the business relationship between Waldner’s and its biggest customer, New York Presbyterian, which touts itself as “providing the highest quality, most compassionate care and service to patients in the New York metropolitan.”

And it’s not just asking politely.

On two separate occasions after the lockout began, construction workers joined Local 814 members to stop Waldner’s from delivering furniture to a New York Presbyterian construction site on the Upper East Side.

“New York Presbyterian Hospital executives should understand that it won’t be business as usual as long as they do business with Waldner’s,” said Jason Ide, president of Local 814. “We aren’t going away. This attack on unions is unprecedented in the furniture industry and if Presbyterian continues to buy from Waldner’s, they are complicit.”

Local 814 is urging the public to support the fired Waldner’s workers and has created a web page, DropWaldners, to provide the public with more information about the lockout.

The web page urges businesses that consider themselves socially responsible to drop their business with Waldner’s because “Waldner’s management walked away from the (bargaining) table after just one session, refused to bargain a new contract, and then locked out their long-time crew of drivers, helpers and warehouse workers.”

Local 814 has also filed an unfair labor practices charge against Waldner’s for failing to bargain in good faith.

The locked out Teamsters have won the support of local elected officials who are urging New York Presbyterian to drop Waldner’s.

“In New York City, we value companies that treat workers with respect. Waldner’s is showing that it does not share those values,” said City Council Member Mark Levine. “New York Presbyterian should drop Waldner’s and use an office furniture company that rewards its long-term employees instead of replacing them.”

Santander employees take union campaign to Washington DC

Members of the Committee for Better Banks traveled to Washington DC to share with members of Congress a new report on the predatory lending practices by Santander Consumer USA, the largest subprime auto loan lender in the US.

Committee for Better Banks is an organization of bank workers and consumer advocates affiliated with the Communication Workers of America. Members of the committee are working to unionize the banking industry, like it is in Europe and South America, and to improve banking practices in the US.

One of the banks where employees are trying to organize a union is Santander and its consumer loan division Santander Consumer USA.

Life for bank workers like these can be precarious.

Their pay is low and much of it is based on commissions they receive from selling banking services and products that customers often don’t need and often can’t afford.

“We had to make a decision every day about meeting our need to have a job and an income or speaking  up about practices that Santander has in place that negatively impact our customers,” said former Santander employee Jerry Robinson on the committee’s Facebook page.

The new report that committee members shared with members of Congress such as senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown describes some of the practices referred to by Robinson.

According to the report, Santander’s pay and incentive system pressures its call center collection employees “to use aggressive collection tactics” taught them by Santander to convince customers to agree to changes to their loans without explaining the high cost of the changes.

Santander Consumer controls more than one-third of the subprime auto loans in the USA.

These are high interest loans made to auto customers with low credit ratings.

About 31 percent of all outstanding auto loans are subprime loans.

It’s not unusual for subprime customers to miss or fall behind on loan payments.

In 2015, 16.7 percent of Santander’s auto loans were delinquent.

When customers do fall behind, they call or are contacted by Santander collection employees working in call centers.

In some cases, customers falling behind on their loans are encouraged to refinance or extend their loans.

Doing so may reduce monthly payments but the fees and extra interest rates that result can substantially increase the cost of the loan.

Santander’s practices have recently drawn the interest of state attorneys general who are cracking down on predatory lending practices.

Santander in March paid $25.9 million to settle predatory lending suits filed by the attorneys general of Delaware and Massachusetts.

Massachusetts’ Attorney General Maura Healey told Bloomberg Markets that in one of the cases cited in her suit, a Massachusetts car buyer ended up owing $10,000 on a $750 vehicle loan.

When members of the Committee for Better Banks met with members of Congress, they told them that having a union at Santander would give the workers the collective power they need to oppose such predatory practices.

Having a union would also give them a chance to have a reliable and steady income.

Currently, if workers don’t meet their sales quotas, they could end up making the minimum wage or near it.

Most people think that working for a bank like Santander is a good middle class job, but many of these workers struggle to make ends meet.

According to a report by the Committee for Better Banks, “bank worker wages are so low that almost one-third of bank tellers receive some sort of public assistance nationwide.”

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In Spain where bank employees including those for Santander are union members, the average bank employee’s salary is $15,000 higher than the national average wage.

After meeting with members of the Committee for Better Banks, Sen. Brown issued a statement about the report presented to him by Santander workers.

“The behavior outlined in this report is troubling and, if true, shows that predatory practices boost profits for banks and their executives while hurting customers and workers,” said Sen. Brown, the ranking Democrat on the Senate’s banking committee. “It’s critical (that) workers are empowered to speak out if their company is harming them or its customers, and I urge Santander to respect the rights of these workers to elect union representation that will give them those protections.”

VA nurses expose under staffing that poses risks to patients

Nurses at the Little Rock Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital recently stood up for their patients by calling attention to a severe under staffing problem at the hospital.

Thirty nurses, members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 2054, filed a complaint with the VA’s Inspector General and the Arkansas State Board of Nursing charging that the hospital’s under staffing puts patients at risk.

Then on June 26, two dozen nurses held an informational picket at the hospital to call attention to the risks faced by patients.

“We are down 150 nurses. Floating to areas we aren’t skilled in is at an all-time high,” said Barbara Casanova, president of Local 2054 and a registered nurse at the hospital. “We can’t deliver appropriate care under those circumstances.”

“We promised to keep our veterans safe, but we’re very worried that something could go wrong,” continued Casanova.

David Cox, Sr., AFGE president, said that the under staffing problem in Little Rock is not unique; it’s a problem at VA hospitals and clinics all over the US.

According to Cox, there are currently 49,000 unfilled positions at VA hospitals across the country.

“Every vacancy is a missed opportunity to make good on our promise to care for those who have borne the battle,” said Cox, Sr. “One vacancy is a tragedy; 49,000 is a national disgrace.”

Cox said that it has been difficult to attract candidates to fill the vacant VA positions because of two things: a constant barrage of anti-government rhetoric by politicians and special interest groups that want to privatize the VA and “pay and benefit cuts that scare away qualified doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.”

The anti-government rhetoric is being transformed into policy by the Trump administration, and its actions have exacerbated the VA’s under staffing problem.

One of the President’s first orders of business when he took office was to freeze hiring by government agencies like the VA.

That freeze was lifted in April, but its  effects continue to linger as the VA tries to catch up with a hiring backlog.

Health care professionals who might be interested in taking those jobs may think twice about doing so because those jobs could end up being cut if the VA continues to privatize more services.

President Trump is a big fan of privatization, and his proposed budget for the VA reflects his predilection for privatization.

His budget boosts funding for the VA’s Choice program, which the American Legion’s National Commander calls a “stealth privatization attempt,” by $2.9 billion in 2018 and $3.9 billion in 2019.

To help pay for the increase in funding for the Choice program, which allows local VA administrators to divert patients to private health care providers, the President’s proposed budget cuts veteran disability benefits by $3.6 billion.

“We are alarmed by the cannibalization of services needed for the Choice program,” said Schmidt. “It is a ‘stealth’ privatization attempt which The American Legion fully opposes.”

In addition to the threat that their jobs could be privatized, VA nurses and other federal employees have had to put up with pay freezes and benefit cuts, which Cox said also makes it difficult to fill open positions.

Between 2010 and 2013, all federal employees including those at the VA had their pay frozen.

Between 2010 and 2016, federal employees also suffered lost wages due to furloughs caused by budget impasses and higher pension contributions.

Now President Trump is seeking even more cuts to federal employees’ wages and benefits.

His proposed budget raises pension contributions for most federal employees to 7 percent of an employee’s salary, a 900 percent increase.

Higher pension increases will mean less take-home pay.

If the Trump budget were to be enacted, a federal employee hired before 2013 and earning $50,000 a year would see her pension contribution increase from $400 a year to $3500 a year, amounting to a 6 percent pay cut.

Trump’s proposed budget would also reduce future pensions and eliminate cost-of-living adjustments.

Back in Little Rock, the nurses’ actions that brought attention to the under staffing problem seems to have done some good.

Hospital management at the Little Rock VA said that 54 new nurses have been hired at the facility.

Casanova has been encouraged by the recent hirings, but if President Trump’s budget becomes a reality and privatization increases and wages and benefits decrease, the Little Rock VA and others will be hard pressed to close the staffing gap that endangers the health of its patients.

Small union, big victory

A small group of workers in Greenfield, Massachusetts recently demonstrated why the working class needs unions and why solidarity and militancy are the keys to making unions strong again.

Seventy-four members of United Electrical Workers (UE) Local 274 on June 23 unanimously approved a new collective bargaining agreement with their employer Kennametal.

Local 274 President Shawn Coates called the new agreement “a great contract with good benefits and good wage increases.”

There was another important feature about the contract: It did not include any of the concessions proposed by the company in its last, best, and final offer.

Kennametal is a global company that manufactures precision metal cutting tools for construction, mining, aerospace, and other industries. It reported sales of $2.1 billion in 2016 and operates in 60 countries.

When negotiations with Local 274 over a new collective bargaining agreement began in March, the company appeared to have the upper hand.

Its operation in Greenfield employs about 80 union members, less than 1 percent of the 11,000 employed by Kennametal all over the world.

To make matters worse, Kennametal reported financial losses in 2015 and 2016, which led to the elimination of 1000 Kennametal jobs and the closure of some of its facilities.

In 2010 when the country was still suffering the aftermath of the Great Recession, Kennametal took advantage of the hard times to wrest concessions from the union including the introduction of a two tiered wage and benefits system.

When the 2017 negotiations began the company was hungry for more concessions including scrapping the workers quality health care plan and replacing it with a flex plan–a health insurance plan with high deductibles, limited coverage.

The company had been able to impose its flex plan on its other Kennametal workers in the US.

When negotiations stalled, the company made its last, best, and final offer chock full of the concessions they proposed when bargaining began.

Instead of caving in the workers fought back intelligently and creatively.

They established informational picket lines outside the gate once or twice a week to demonstrate their unity and to inform the community about their fight to resist concessions.

Greenfield is a strong union town where UE has had a presence for decades. Workers received strong support from the community.

The union held two well attended rallies at the plant gates. In addition to the Kennametal union members, those who came to rallies included Local 274 members who worked at other places, other UE members, who came from all over the Northeast, members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, workers mobilized by Jobs with Justice, and local community supporters.

The union also took the fight into the plant itself. Without going into details, UE reports that “the struggle on the shop floor was waged during every working hour, and the company soon began complaining that productivity was down.”

While all of this was going on, the union also filed two unfair labor practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board. “One was for the company unlawfully contracting out work. The other hit the company for unilaterally publicizing its ‘last, best and final offer’ with the false claim that the union was calling for a vote on the offer,” reported the union.

The company finally agreed to a new contract that eliminated virtually all of the concessions that it had previously demanded.

In addition to keeping their health care plan, the union won wage increases ranging from $2.25 an hour to $3.25.

The higher wage increases went to the tier two workers and closed the gap between them and tier one workers from $1.00 an hour to between $0.30 and $0.40 an hour.

The new contract also gives tier two workers the same number of sick days and vacation days as tier one workers, improves the grievance procedure for all workers, and includes new “no lockout” language, which will give workers a stronger bargaining position  when future negotiations take place.

“The vast majority of the members really stuck together,” said Coates. “That gives you some push. Like everybody says, we’re a strong union.”

DSA calls for boycott of B&H Photo and Video

The Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) has called for a national boycott of B&H Photo and Video because the company has “notoriously violated its workers’ rights.”

B&H, a company with $2.65 billion in sales revenue, sells professional quality photo and video equipment at its super store in New York City and on the internet.

Workers at the company’s warehouse in the Brooklyn Naval Yards in 2015 voted to unionize and joined the United Steelworkers (USW)..

Since then, the warehouse workers, who are mostly Latino immigrants, have been trying to reach an agreement with the company on their first collective bargaining agreement.

But B&H has dragged out the negotiations and in January announced that it will move its two Brooklyn warehouses 75 miles away to South New Jersey.

The new warehouse is located in an area that is not accessible by public transportation from New York City.

In addition to demanding that B&H negotiate a first collective bargaining agreement, the union also wants the company to bargain about its decision to move the workers’ jobs out of state.

The company refuses to negotiate on the move, and if the move goes through, most workers will lose their jobs.

DSA members have been supporting the workers for the last 16 weeks by picketing the B&H store, and the workers themselves have taken direct actions such as their one-day strike on May Day.

But to no avail.

“That’s why . . . DSA is launching a new national boycott effort and website, www.boycottbnh.com, to tell the company: Settle a contract with your workers! End the exploitation!” said Maria Svart, DSA national director in an email message to members.

B&H has had a bit of history with worker rights violations.

The company in 2009 agreed to pay $4.3 million to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by the US Department of Labor over claims by Latino workers that they were paid unequal pay and benefits.

Also in 2009, female employees sued the company charging that B&H paid female employees less than their male counterparts. The suit was subsequently dismissed.

Despite the lawsuits, workers at B&H’s warehouse said that they continue to be treated badly by B&H.

Latino workers complained of verbal and in some cases physical abuse by their supervisors.

They work as much as 13 to 16 hours a day with only one 45 minute break for lunch.

They also said that they work in an unsafe environment exposed to fiberglass dust that causes respiratory problems, skin rashes, and nosebleeds. They are also exposed to asbestos and benzene.

The final straw came in 2014 when two tractor trailers parked next door to the company’s Brooklyn Naval Yard warehouse caught fire.

The smoke from the fire started billowing into the B&H warehouse, and it appeared that the fire might spread to the warehouse.

Instead of being allowed to evacuate the warehouse, workers were told to wait. When management finally allowed the workers the leave, they had to exit through a metal detector causing a bottleneck in the evacuation route.

Because of the bottleneck, it took 30 minutes for the evacuation to be complete.

Some of the workers decided that they needed help to address their grievances, and they turned to the Laundry Workers Center, which helps immigrant workers in the laundry business.

Organizers from the Laundry Workers Center helped the B&H warehouse workers form an organizing committee that succeeded in getting a union representation election held.

In a November 2015 vote, B&H warehouse workers voted 200 to 88 to join the United Steelworkers.

But B&H did what a lot of other employers do when workers vote to join a union. It slow walked the negotiations in order to buy more time.

By 2016, there was still no collective bargaining agreement, and the company was still not addressing the grievances raised by its workers.

That same year, the US Labor Department filed a suit against B&H alleging that the company paid Latino workers less than white workers and that the company refused to hire blacks, women, and Asian workers into entry level positions.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration also fined B&H $32,000 for hazardous working conditions.

DSA’s boycott website urges people to sign a letter addressed to B&H owners. The letter expresses outrage at the treatment of the B&H workers and the company’s refusal to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.

“I will take my business elsewhere until you reverse your decision to move the warehouses to New Jersey and negotiate a reasonable contract with your unionized Brooklyn workers” concludes the letter.

Mississippi Nissan workers to vote on union

Workers at the Nissan auto plant in Canton, Mississippi will soon have a chance to vote on whether they want to join a union.

An organizing committee of Nissan workers assisted by the United Autoworkers (UAW) recently filed papers with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a union representation election at the factory.

The workers asked that the election take place during a two-day period that begins July 31 and ends August 1. The NLRB will make the final decision about when the election will take place.

“Nissan employees want fair wages for all workers, better benefits, and an end to unreasonable production quotas and unsafe conditions in Mississippi,” said Nina Dumas, a member of the organizing committee who has worked in the plant for five years. “The company doesn’t respect our rights. It’s time for a union in Canton.”

Despite Nissan’s best efforts to tamp down support for the union, the organizing committee’s efforts gained momentum after a large march and rally called the March on Mississippi took place four months ago.

Five thousand Nissan workers and their community supporters marched through the streets of Canton up to the gates of the factory in a strong showing of solidarity.

The Canton Nissan workers are predominately African American. They make some of Nissan’s most popular vehicles including the Altima, Frontier, Murano, and Titan.

Nissan opened the Canton factory in 2003 after the state of Mississippi awarded it $1.3 billion in tax exemptions and other incentives.

Nissan in turn was to provide local workers with good jobs and a respectful work environment.

But instead, members of organizing committee say that  Nissan has disrespected its workers.

“When we speak out to demand basic protections, Nissan threatens and harasses us,” said McRay Johnson, an organizing committee member who also has worked five years for Nissan. “Employees need and deserve representation in the workplace.”

Workers have also criticized Nissan for a lax safety culture at the plant.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued multiple safety violation citations against Nissan.

OSHA’s latest citation said that Nissan failed to provide “a place of employment that was free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.”

“Every day, we literally are risking our lives at Nissan,” said Rosiland Essex, a 14-year  Nissan employee. “We deserve better.”

Many members of the local community also think that Nissan workers deserve better.

In fact some of them have come together to form Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan (MAFN).

MAFN is composed of prominent civil rights and religious leaders as well as students and others active in the Black Lives Matter movement.

At a July 10 media conference announcing that workers had requested a union election, Dr. Isiac Jackson, Jr., pastor of Canton’s Liberty Baptist Church, president of the General Missionary Baptist General Convention, and chair of MAFN, spoke about the importance of having a union.

Belonging to a union means that workers have certain guarantees, said Dr. Jackson

“If you have a union, you’re guaranteed that when you get hurt on the job, you will be taken care of. . . You’re guaranteed that “nobody can just walk up to you and take away your job that guarantees the support of your family. . . “You’re guaranteed to have hours that allow you to go home and enjoy your family and have a sustaining live,” said Jackson.

“You’re job’s not done till you pull the (voting booth) lever,” said Jackson urging workers to vote for the union in the coming election.

MAFN played a leading role in organizing the March on Mississippi.

One of the speakers at the march was Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP and a leader of MAFN.

“Workers rights are civil rights,” said Johnson at the march’s  rally. “It’s about the right of workers not to be exploited for cheap labor or for free labor.”

The anti-union drive by Nissan is an effort “to keep labor cheap by intimidating labor,” continued Johnson.

The strong show of solidarity at the March on Mississippi helped some Nissan workers gain confidence in the union drive even though Nissan has conducted an aggressive and perhaps illegal anti-union campaign.

According to the UAW, the NLRB found enough evidence to issue a complaint against Nissan charging it with illegal anti-union actions.

“The NLRB complaint alleges that Nissan unlawfully threatened to close the Canton plant if workers unionized and also threatened employees with termination,” states the UAW in a media release about the upcoming election.

As support for the union has grown, Nissan has stepped up its anti-union campaign. Anti-union media ads are running in the local media market, and the company continues to interfere with the workers’ right to belong to a union.

But union supporters at Nissan have a strong base of support inside and outside of the plant.

At the recent media conference announcing the union election, Bishop Thomas Jenkins said that the struggle for a union has been an uphill battle, but the workers have endured and are on the verge of victory.

“Workers have worked tirelessly to get to this moment,” said Jenkins. “Even though they have faced much intimidation (by Nissan).

Jenkins that workers have been forced to view movies intended to make them afraid to join a union and have been forced to attend small group meetings where they’re threatened for supporting the union.

“In spite all that, we’re going to win,” said Jenkins.