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Nissan Employees Vote Against UAW Unionization

Operations Inside A Nissan Motor Co. Facility Ahead Of Durable Goods OrdersOperations Inside A Nissan Motor Co. Facility Ahead Of Durable Goods Orders
A worker installs a door bracket on a 2016 Nissan Motor Co. Altima mid-size vehicle at the company's North America manufacturing plant in Canton, Mississippi, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release durable goods figures on September 28. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBloomberg Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nissan Motor Co. workers dealt the United Auto Workers another blow in its decades-long attempt to organize Japanese automakers’ U.S. car plants, as employees at a Mississippi factory voted against joining the union.

Workers at the facility in Canton voted nearly two-to-one against joining the UAW, Nissan spokesman Paul Barage said in an email. The union has largely failed for years to organize Japanese, German or Korean automakers’ American factories.

The vote results are another setback to labor groups in the U.S., where the total share of workers who belong to a union fell to a record low last year. The campaign leading up to balloting Thursday and Friday was bitter, with UAW President Dennis Williams accusing Nissan managers of intimidation. The company fired back by arguing unionization could hurt the factory’s global competitiveness.

“With this vote, the voice of Nissan employees has been heard,” Barage said. “They have rejected the UAW and chosen to self-represent, continuing the direct relationship they enjoy with the company. Our expectation is that the UAW will respect and abide by their decision and cease their efforts to divide our Nissan family.”

The vote opposing joining the UAW was won 2,244 to 1,307. Voting was supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

“The result of the election was a setback for these workers, the UAW and working Americans everywhere, but in no way should it be considered a defeat,” UAW President Dennis Williams said on the union’s website.

The Canton plant’s 6,400 workers build Altima sedans, Titan and Frontier pickups, Murano sport utility vehicles and NV commercial vans. About half the employees there were eligible to vote.