Nissan Accused of Rating Workers Based on Union Support

The complaint accuses Nissan of using a rating system called 'penetration analysis' that assesses union sentiment.

You may recall this past summer that a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi held a much-publicized vote over whether to unionize. High profile supporters including Senator Bernie Sanders and actor Danny Glover came out in support of the UAW, and encouraged the plant’s 3,700 workers to vote yes on representation. The significance of what would be the first-ever unionization of a foreign automaker in the traditionally anti-union south meant that stakes – and tensions – were high.

But on August 4th, the vote for the UAW failed – with 62 percent of those who voted expressing their disinterest in the union. At the time, a Nissan spokesperson said that the company employees’ voices had been heard. The UAW called it a setback, but not a defeat.

Well, now the UAW is back on the attack in Canton and, according to Bloomberg, it’s filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board saying that Nissan has been, for years, “illegally tracking and rating employees by their union sentiments.” The complaint accuses Nissan of employee surveillance, and says its rating system – which it refers to as “penetration analysis” – assesses individual workers perceived support or opposition to the union.

The UAW wants Nissan to be subpoenaed for further fact finding, but the automaker seems nonplused – with a spokesperson suggesting that claims like those made by the UAW are “common tactics” used to ignore the wishes of the workers, and that Nissan has abided by all labor laws.

That said, Jalopnik is reporting that the UAW has submitted what it claims is evidence as to the existence of the tracking system, which is said to include descriptions of individual employees and their feelings towards the union, as well as one instance where it says an employee actually acknowledged that the system existed.

Latest in Operations
More in Operations