Yesterday’s other Trade Union march

Danny Glover, Bernie Sanders and NAACP president Cornell Brooks participated yesterday in a march with Nissan factory workers trying to unionize in Canton, Mississippi. It is worth watching the film below, and Brooks is particularly eloquent about why workplace rights are civil rights.

It is also worth reading this interview with Hollywood star, Danny Glover, which is illuminating about how the fight in Mississippi is about the same issues of precarious employment so familiar to us in the UK.

all the employees were initially full-time employees. So the workers have been there 13 and 14 years. And they had benefits, good wages and a relationship with the company. But then the plant resorted to temporary workers who do the same jobs as those workers who are permanent and have been there some time. Now the workforce is about 40 percent temporary workers. Some temporary workers are there for three and four years but don’t have a sense of permanency and make significantly less that the permanent workers. These are the kinds of things that you work out within the union [through] collective bargaining.

However Glover makes the point that Nissan has 45 plants around the world, and the only ones that are non-unionized are in America: in Canton, Mississippi, and in Decherd and Smyrna, Tennessee. He argues that the reason for this is simple: “it is a continuation of the system [of] Jim Crow, which was born out of slavery. Basically, it’s an issue of civil rights—worker rights are civil rights. The South has always been anti-union

18 comments on “Yesterday’s other Trade Union march

  1. Jellytot on said:

    I drove through Mississippi once on a road trip between Florida and Texas and stopped briefly in Birmingham Alabama to visit the excellent and highly recommended Civil Rights museum and nearby Baptist church that was subject to an infamous KKK bombing that claimed the lives of a group of Black children.

    The obvious poverty and “down at heel” nature of that State was still very evident. It’s always a wonder how that State consistently returns very right wing Republicans to congress and senate. The answer is due to the continued disenfranchisement of African Americans and organisation of the White Christian Right in the northern part of the state. Ditto for Mississippi and Louisiana.

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  2. Evan P on said:

    Not watched it yet but it made me think immediately of MLK and what he was doing at the time of his murder in Memphis.

    And I just love it that Bernie Sanders (rightful President?) is clearly not going away any time soon.

    This land…

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  3. Jellytot on said:

    Gerald Posner’s, “Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, JR.” is worth reading about this and gives a good background to the Sanitation Strike and goes deep into the background and motivation of James Earl Ray and the wider organised racist Right.

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  4. Andy on said:

    [Admin note: if the only thing you ever come here for is to post links to your website, and if you choose a different fake name each time you do it, we’re not going to let your comment through.]

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  5. Tony on said:

    “The South has always been anti-union”

    The propaganda term is ‘right to work’ state.

    Worth bearing in mind that after the Civil War, slavery got a makeover and was not actually abolished until the 1940s.

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  6. Andy Newman on said:

    Jellytot: Gerald Posner’s, “Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, JR.” is worth reading

    I’ll try that. Michael Honey’s “Going down Jericho Road” is specifically about Dr King’s involvement in the strike, and is probably the best book about trade unionism I have ever read

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  7. Karl Stewart on said:

    Excellent video and report. Great to see and be reminded of the positive side of the USA.

    (Just one thing though, isn’t Dan Glover ‘getting too old for this’?)

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  8. Jellytot on said:

    Evan P:
    Jellytot,

    I agree about Gorgeous George but you may be a bit unfair about Matt Damon.

    Haha…..I always think of “Team America World Police”…..Matt Damon !!

    Plus what’s with his latest one? An Irishman in Ancient China?? So ably described by Jimmy Kimmel at the Oscars as a “Chinese Ponytail Movie”!

    Yet another Hollywood “White Saviour Narrative” like ‘Dances with Wolves’, ‘The Last Samurai’ and ‘Gran Torino’.

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  9. John Grimshaw on said:

    Tony: Worth bearing in mind that after the Civil War, slavery got a makeover and was not actually abolished until the 1940s.

    This is not true.

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