I rather liked Danny Gloverâ€™s acting in the films â€śPlaces in the Heartâ€ť and â€śThe Color Purpleâ€ť back in the 1980s. But his performances in recent pro-union rallies in Canton and in related ones in Detroit are far less convincing.
Glover, now 66, is joining an organization called the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan in accusing the global automaker of intimidation during an ongoing United Auto Workers effort to unionize Nissanâ€™s Mississippi plant.
The Canton plant assembles seven different vehicles, including the Titan and Frontier pickups, Armada and Xterra SUVs, Altima sedan and two Nissan vans. The auto plant has a total of 5,000 full-time and contract employees.
The â€śintimidationâ€ť accusation â€” which Nissan executives have called â€śunfoundedâ€ť â€” center on instances in which employees at the Canton plant have been seen wearing T-shirts reading â€śWant a union? Move to Detroit.â€ť
Nissan officials responded by saying that Nissan employees opposing a union chose to wear the shirts as a show of support for the company.
Glover told The Detroit News on Jan. 14 during the 2013 North American International Auto Show: â€śThe right to work doesnâ€™t mean you donâ€™t have the right to organize,â€ť Glover said. â€śThey (Nissan) have unions in South Africa and Japan. Weâ€™re only asking for the right to vote on a union and not face intimidation.â€ť
Two prior UAW efforts to unionize the Canton plant have failed. Nissan workers in Smyrna, Tenn., rejected a union vote at that facility in 2001. And while the UAWâ€™s effort to break Mississippiâ€™s â€śright to workâ€ť state status with a successful unionization push at the Nissan plant in Canton is understandable from the perspective of perpetuating the existence of the UAW, itâ€™s less clear the benefit to the plantâ€™s workers.
Other than perpetuating the unionâ€™s eroding existence with new members and new union dues, the UAW has to make some sort of rational pitch to the stateâ€™s auto workers as to why it would be to their advantage to pay dues to the union.
There have been incredibly vague and as yet unsubstantiated allegations of â€śhuman rights violationsâ€ť by union organizers and some of the beneficiaries of their campaign contribution largesse in Congress, but the UAW has yet to offer any substantive examples of why Mississippi auto workers need union representation.
Pro-union organizers have failed to make the case that worker safety is endangered or that wages are out of line with other non-union auto manufacturing plants in the region. More to the point, the former seat of power for the UAW â€” Detroit â€” is also the formerly almost exclusive headquarters of American automakers. Thatâ€™s no longer true. Why?
Thereâ€™s a â€śDetroit Southâ€ť in places like Canton and Blue Springs, Mississippi, because the real Detroit imploded and the impact of union labor contracts was a fundamental contributing cause of that implosion.
Not the sole cause, mind you, but a major factor.
There was a visible absence of Danny Gloverâ€™s passion in Canton back when there were few manufacturing jobs paying workers the type of wages that Nissan pays there today.
Labor unions are about 50 percent smaller today than they were back in 1975 â€” and thatâ€™s not an actorâ€™s tale, thatâ€™s a fact.
Bottom line? Mississippiâ€™s right-to-work status is helping spur modern-day economic development that is raising Mississippiâ€™s per capita personal income.
Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at 662-507-8004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.