UAW Accuses Nissan Of Illegally Surveilling Workers Involved With Union Activity

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

The United Auto Workers filed a complaint this month against Nissan Motors, alleging the automaker illegally tracks and ranks employees based on “their perceived support for or opposition to the UAW.”

The allegations come several weeks after an UAW held a hotly contested election to unionize a Nissan production plant in Canton, Mississippi. More than 3,500 employees voted against joining the union by a near 2-to-1 margin.


In the six-page complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the union alleges that Nissan “has maintained and continues to maintain an employee surveillance, data collection and rating system that records employee union activity and rates workers according to their perceived support for or opposition to the UAW.”

Bloomberg first reported about the complaint and obtained it through a Freedom of Information Act request. In a statement, Nissan said it abides by all U.S labor laws and “respects the employees’ right to choose if an how they wish to be represented.”

“Filing charges such as these with the NLRB is a common tactic in an organizing campaign,” the company said. “This is another attempt by the UAW to ignore the voices of Nissan employees who chose to reject representation by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.”

The UAW claims it learned about the system in the run-up to the August election, and says Nissan’s higher management calls it “penetration analysis.”


“Just before the election, a presently-employed [redacted] acknowledged the existence of this system to a worker,” the complaint, which you can view below, says. “Another member of management, when asked by a worker about the existence of this system, did not answer the worker’s question, telling [redacted] that he would get back to the worker.”

The UAW submitted a partially-redacted attachment that it said provides evidence of the system, which appears to include general descriptions of individuals and their sentiment toward unions.


The UAW is asking the NLRB to subpoena the automaker and investigate “all relevant facts concerning Nissan maintenance of this system since at least 2011,” and whether Nissan used the system for employment-related matters at the Canton plant.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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As someone who thinks pretty much every employment sector should be unionized, but as someone who has never been in a union, I don’t understand: “More than 3,500 employees voted against joining the union by a near 2-to-1 margin”. Why would people vote against more bargaining power against corporate interests and their political puppets? Do they think the corporations and the politicians they pay aren’t colluding to drive your wages down and benefits out the door?