Danny Glover: Nissan Workers in the South Need a Union

By:  Danny Glover

My lifetime of activism on civil rights and on humanitarian issues has taken me across the U.S. and around the world. But for the past four years, my time and energy as an activist has centered on one small town, which I believe is ground zero in America’s civil rights struggle today: Canton, Mississippi.

Canton is home to a Nissan factory that employs more than 5,000 workers, roughly 80 percent of whom are African-American. The workers at this plant have been organizing to form a union, so that they can have a voice on the job and stick together to address issues like health and safety hazards and fair pay.

Nissan workers have formed unions at every plant the company operates around the world—in Japan, Britain, Australia, France, China, Mexico and even South Africa. But not in the American South.

The only places in the world where Nissan workers don’t have a union are Tennessee and Mississippi. In Mississippi, Nissan workers who have spoken up and organized have faced an unrelenting pattern of harassment, intimidation and other civil rights abuses.

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