Home » OPINION » Columns » JACK WEATHERLY — Nissan march: running on fumes
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, tells thousands at a pro-union rally near Nissan Motor Co.’s Canton, plant, Saturday, that he congratulates workers for their courage “in standing up for justice.” Among the participants were actor Danny Glover, national NAACP President Cornell Brooks, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and UAW President Dennis Williams.

JACK WEATHERLY — Nissan march: running on fumes

JACK WEATHERLY

A rally was staged Saturday in Canton to protest conditions at the gleaming-white, mile-long Nissan plant.

The creation of 6,400 superior jobs does present some situations.

Granted, losing fingers in on the job is bad, but, sadly, things like that happen in heavy industry.

And keeping the line moving when an employee passes out on the plant floor and later dies of natural causes, well that doesn’t sound exactly cricket.

The company says it stopped the line.

The Saturday rally was titled “March on Mississippi.” Shades of the civil rights marches of the ‘60s.

Organizers claim 4,000 participated in the march. If half of the participants were employees at the plant, that could meet the threshold of 30 percent of the work force to qualify for an election on unionization.

A United Auto Workers spokesman said only that “a significant number” of the participants are employed at the Nissan plant.

Others? Perhaps some who had failed to get jobs there.

Note to marchers: this might not be the best way to get a job at Nissan.

Not that that should preclude getting a job there. This is a free country with First Amendment rights.

Deep conviction is the fuel of passion. The speakers were running on a thin mixture.

Bernie Sanders, who ran second behind Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential nomination campaign, piped the tired rhetoric of the UAW, which for years has tried to organize the Nissan plant as well as the one in Smyrna, Tenn.

UAW even tried to get some leverage by sending a French envoy to Canton to pressure the  automaker since the French government has a 20 percent ownership in Renault, which is a major shareholder in Nissan.

Sacre bleu! 

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, whose Second District includes the plant, was present, as you would expect.

Collective memory is short, but  Thompson’s obstructionist position during the two-party effort to land the state’s first auto plant,was recorded for posterity.

I recall because I was directing the Clarion-Ledger coverage of the precedent-setting success story. Look him up in that paper’s archives.

By the way, and not that it’s the most  important thing, but reports are that about 80 percent of the employees at the plant are black.

Thompson’s district is predominantly black.

Those could be better-paying jobs, the rallyers said. Sanders says 27 percent more. Less union dues, he might have added.

Since the plant was opened in 2003, Nissan’s direct and indirect contribution to the state’s gross domestic product averages $2.9 billion a year, according to a report from the Mississippi State University-based National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center.

Additional local and state tax revenue has reached $300 million a year, the 2016 report stated. As of last year, 25,000 jobs have indirectly been added to the state’s economy, thanks to the Nissan plant.

Nissan led the state in a shift toward advanced manufacturing in the state, including Toyota, Airbus Helicopters, Steel Dynamics, PAACAR, Yokohama Tire and Continental Tire.

Yes, lower nonunion wages are one of the major reasons for the relocation of the industry.

It is said: don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.

Okay, nothing’s perfect. But much good has been achieved in Mississippi and across the South, historically the poorest part of the nation.

There is no such thing as a workers paradise.

That’s been tried, failing catastrophically across the globe for a century.

But it ultimately it succeeded in establishing a “utopia,” which means “no place,” which would include two pitiful outposts, Cuba and Venezuela.

» Contact Mississippi Business Journal staff writer Jack Weatherly at jack.weatherly@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1016. 

About Jack Weatherly

3 comments

  1. “And keeping the line moving when an employee passes out on the plant floor and later dies of natural causes, well that doesn’t sound exactly cricket.”

    I hope and pray that you are not referring to Derrick Whiting’s death. I have worked in healthcare administration for over 20 years and request that you do not publish false statements regarding my son’s death. I do not believe you were working at Nissan-Canton, MS on the night that he died.

    This is a very racist article in my opinion. You should be ashamed of yourself for publishing these lies. The facts will come forth even through Nissan-Canton, MS might have added:

    Since the plant was opened in 2003, Nissan’s direct and indirect contribution to the state’s gross domestic product averages $2.9 billion a year, according to a report from the Mississippi State University-based National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center”.

    If your only son and firstborn child had died the way Derrick Whiting died at Nissan, you would not be writing this crap! May God have mercy on you! Mother of Derrick Whiting

  2. Jack Weatherly, do you work at Nissan ? Oh ok that’s what I thought? … You made it perfectly clear that you are nothing but a pure evil, racist, kkk human being. What does the plant being mostly black, have anything to do with it? Clearly you didn’t go to the march.. Because if you did you woukd have noticed that it was diverse from workers and supporters. That’s the problem with people like you.. You are still stuck in the good ole days… No one asked for your racist ****… If you don’t work at Nissan .. Do us a favor.. And shut your racist *** up!!!

  3. Where are the two comments that were posted? Why have they been removed? Did you not like my reply? Here it is again:

    Hazel Whiting
    March 14, 2017 at 9:18 pm
    “And keeping the line moving when an employee passes out on the plant floor and later dies of natural causes, well that doesn’t sound exactly cricket.”

    I hope and pray that you are not referring to Derrick Whiting’s death. I have worked in healthcare administration for over 20 years and request that you do not publish false statements regarding my son’s death. I do not believe you were working at Nissan-Canton, MS on the night that he died.

    This is a very racist article in my opinion. You should be ashamed of yourself for publishing these lies. The facts will come forth even through Nissan-Canton, MS might have added:

    Since the plant was opened in 2003, Nissan’s direct and indirect contribution to the state’s gross domestic product averages $2.9 billion a year, according to a report from the Mississippi State University-based National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center”.

    If your only son and firstborn child had died the way Derrick Whiting died at Nissan, you would not be writing this crap! May God have mercy on you! Mother of Derrick Whiting

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