Political, business leaders fight union effort by touting benefits of auto industry

In 2015, full-time workers who were union members had median usual weekly earnings of $980, while non-union workers had median weekly earnings of $776 — or 79 percent of union members’ earnings, the study showed.

Also, union membership is strongest in local government and amongst African Americans. The UAW and its supporters have compared the union effort at Nissan, which employs a large number of African Americans, to civil rights movements.

Dr. Dolphus Weary, co-chair of Move Mississippi Forward, objects to that strategy, calling it an unfair comparison.

“I went out there to look for what is the racial mix of the people. I expected a high percentage of whites and a low percentage of blacks. I found out it was an equal number of minorities and whites,” Weary said.

He said after talking to managers at the plant, he felt confident that all employees had the same opportunities to earn equal pay and work in a safe environment.

“I think that there are a couple of lenses we’re looking at. There’s an old lens: We needed the union 40 years ago, 50 years ago. Absolutely. The question today is do we need somebody else to come in and challenge the plant to do the right thing? I just take the position of trying to challenge the plant to do the right thing for all the the employees,” he said.

Mississippi Today