The first vote on whether employees at Nissan will form a union is scheduled for early August, the company announced Monday.

If the National Labor Relations Board approves the dates, the election will take place on Aug. 3 and Aug. 4.

Nissan workers and supporters of the United Auto Workers held a rally at the UAW’s Canton office July 12 to announce that a petition seeking a vote had been filed with federal regulators.

Nissan said in a statement that the company “does not believe that UAW representation is in the best interest of Nissan Canton and its workers” but added that the decision belongs to employees.

“In Canton, Nissan technicians enjoy pay and benefits that are among the best in Mississippi, a safe work environment and a history of job security that exceeds UAW organized plants,” said Rodney Francis, the human resources director at Nissan Canton. “Our success has been built upon the direct relationship we have with employees. Given the UAW’s history of strikes, layoffs and plant closures, it is clear that their presence could be harmful.”

The UAW has attempted to organize Nissan workers since the plant opened in 2003. Since then, the union and its supporters, including workers in Mississippi, have complained of unsafe and grueling working conditions at the plant.

Earlier this year, the Nissan manufacturing facility in Canton faced more than $20,000 in fines for violating federal workplace safety rules. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued three citations against Nissan North America following inspections that took place in December and January.

In March, the UAW held a rally that featured then-NAACP President Cornell Brooks, actor Danny Glover and former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW and director of the international union’s transnational department, claims Nissan is running one of the most aggressive anti-worker campaigns in modern U.S. history.

“We call on Nissan to immediately respond to demands by civil-rights leaders in Mississippi to meet with employee representatives in order to discuss conditions for achieving neutrality and ensuring that Nissan employees in Canton can vote on a local union in a free and fair election,” Casteel said in a news release.

Nissan contends that the UAW “has launched baseless and false claims against the
company in an attempt to unionize the workforce,” adding that Nissan has created some 25,000 jobs since 2003.

Ryan L. Nave, a native of University City, Mo., served as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief from May 2018 until April 2020. Ryan began his career with Mississippi Today February 2016 as an original member of the editorial team. He became news editor August 2016. Ryan has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked for Illinois Times and served as news editor for the Jackson Free Press.