Glenn Spencer Glenn Spencer
Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


April 04, 2024


On April 1, workers at a Nissan facility in Somerset, New Jersey filed a petition to decertify the United Auto Workers union (UAW). This is an interesting development — just as the UAW scrambles to unionize auto plants around the country, a group of workers it already represents are sending a strong message of no confidence.

The bargaining unit of 60 employees at a parts distribution center was certified in 2020, according to reports. Apparently four years of UAW representation was enough for the workers who submitted the decertification petition.

Whether these workers will actually get the chance to vote on kicking out the UAW is open to question, though. As we’ve seen with Starbucks, the current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has basically said “no” when workers try to decertify a union. In addition, the NLRB is reinstating a rule that allows unions to file so-called “blocking charges” when workers file a decertification petition, enabling the union to push off a vote almost indefinitely. It’s a bit like the infamous “Hotel California,” where you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

Even if the NLRB prevents these Nissan workers from decertifying their union, it’s a bit embarrassing for the UAW. More ominously, the petition comes on the heels of reports that UAW membership dropped again in 2023 to 330,000 workers. In 1970, the union had 1.5 million members—meaning that since that time, membership has fallen by 78 percent. Perhaps that 78 percent and the 60 workers in New Jersey know something about the UAW that workers in places like Tennessee, Alabama, and Missouri should know as well.

About the authors

Glenn Spencer

Glenn Spencer

Spencer oversees the Chamber’s work on immigration, retirement security, traditional labor relations, human trafficking, wage hour and worker safety issues, EEOC matters, and state labor and employment law.

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