NAACP Passes Resolution Calling on Nissan & Foreign Automakers to Give Workers a Voice on the Job

Association Asks for Automakers to Abandon Anti-Union Agenda

(ORLANDO)— During the NAACP’s 104th Annual Convention, delegates unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming the Association’s commitment to fair labor practices and calling for foreign automakers to allow employees to organize a union and engage in collective bargaining. The resolution was put forward by the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP.

“The American middle class is the engine of our economy and deserves fair wages and treatment in the workplace,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “This resolution reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that employees of foreign automakers are not treated as second-class citizens.”

The resolution states, in part that, “…the NAACP requests that Nissan, and other foreign automakers, abandon their anti-union agenda and treat American workers with the same human rights to organize a union and engage in collective bargaining that they provide around the world…”

Support for the resolution coincided with the convention theme “We Shall Not be Moved,” and discussions centered on modern day attempts to roll back the progress of the civil rights era and the efforts of civil and human rights advocates to combat these efforts.

“We are proud of this longstanding partnership with the civil rights community and our shared commitment to fairness for all,” said UAW President Bob King. “This sends strong message of support to the struggling Nissan workers in Canton who want a solution that gives them dignity and fairness on the job as they create quality products at the best value for customers.”

The resolution stems from the associations growing concern about fair labor practices by foreign automakers.

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The full text of the resolution is below:

2.  Fairness in Labor Practices in the Auto Industry

Mississippi State Conference (Unit 5632)

Concurred as amended

WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is concerned about the growing income inequality and the decline of the middle class living standards in our nation; and

WHEREAS, the hollowing out of the middle class is directly related to the decline in unionization, since unions are a vehicle to turn low wage jobs into middle class jobs; and

WHEREAS, the United Nations' International Labour Organizations (ILO) Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work states that the right to organize unions and participate in collective bargaining is a universal human right; and

WHEREAS, it is the duty, responsibility and continuing mission of the NAACP to support the right of working people to freely organize unions without being threatened or intimidated; and

WHEREAS, it is problematic and a violation of human and civil rights when foreign automakers operate in the United States and deny or suppress Americans the same union and collective bargaining rights as workers in Japan and other countries all over the world; and

WHEREAS, these workers rights violations by foreign automakers are most prominently occurring in the southern part of the United States whereby local and state governments usually give tax and other incentives to the automakers; and

WHEREAS, workers around the country including most recently Canton, Mississippi of international automaker giant, Nissan, have expressed interest in being treated as workers in other countries by having a union in order to have a voice on the job and to address issues of fairness and safety; and

WHEREAS, these workers are interested in setting a precedent which would benefit workers in other states by successfully forming a union as a positive step that would support their rights, show mutual respect and aid in the company's success through collaboration and partnership; and

WHEREAS, Nissan-Canton, much as other foreign automakers, has responded to the union interest activity by suppressing union activity, and having individual and group meetings to show videos implying that there would be negative consequences and potential loss of jobs if the workers exercised their right to unionize; thereby reducing U.S. citizens to second class members of its international workforce.

Therefore Be It Resolved, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People reaffirm its commitment to the right to fair labor practices and unionization by demanding that Nissan and fellow foreign automakers afford its American workers that same employment rights as those extended to its workforce in other countries around the world; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP requests that Nissan, and other foreign automakers, abandon their anti-union agenda and treat American workers with the same human rights to organize a union and engage in collective bargaining that they provide around the world; and 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP will work with units, community leaders, clergy, students, civil rights leaders and other partner organizations to demand that Nissan and other foreign automakers respect the workers right to a free and fair election to unionize.

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Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.  You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

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