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Nissan workers reject effort by UAW to organize plant

Workers at the Nissan assembly plant in Canton have rejected union representation, adding to decades of futility by United Auto Workers organizers at foreign-owned auto plants in the South.

A spokeswoman for Nissan Motor Co. said late Friday that the union lost a pivotal vote by 3,700 eligible workers. Nissan says the final vote total was 2,244 to 1,307.

The union formally charged Nissan with breaking federal law in its anti-union campaign as polls closed. Federal officials could eventually order a new election if they agree. Nissan denies wrongdoing and says the UAW seeks to undermine the vote.

The UAW has never fully organized an international automaker in the South.

The yearslong effort at Nissan focused on linking civil rights and workers’ rights for the majority African-American work force. Nissan warned a union would hurt its economic competitiveness.

The UAW has filed seven new claims that Nissan broke federal labor law during the election.

The union filed the charges Friday just as polls closed after a two-day election to determine whether the UAW will represent workers at the plant.

The National Labor Relations Board will consider the charges and could add them to a series of allegations in a complaint the federal labor regulator has issued against Nissan.

If the labor board rules in favor of the charges, the board could order the election to be repeated. Such a decision could be months or years away.

Among the charges, the UAW alleges that Nissan provided a faulty list of worker contact information. Nissan spokeswoman Parul Bajaj says the company provided all required information. She didn’t immediately respond to the other charges.

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