July 28, 2017


Co-authored with Scott Waller, interem president and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council

Nissan’s workers face a crucial choice on Aug. 3-4 when they vote in a plant-wide election whether to turn over their workplace to the leadership of the United Auto Workers Union. What’s at stake is whether to graft onto one of the state’s manufacturing success stories an organizational force that many observers fault for the crisis that hit domestic auto manufacturers just a few years ago.

Jobs at the Nissan plant are some of the best-paying positions in the region, and it’s not at all clear that the UAW can improve upon that. What is clear is that the UAW is desperate for new members. In fact, as recently as 2002, the UAW had more than 700,000 members. Now that is down to just over 400,000. During that same time, the UAW’s revenue also dropped by more than 20 percent — meaning that new dues-payers are urgently needed.