This Kool-Aid Tastes Like Poverty: The Wane of the Southern Union

Southerners hate unions for one simple reason: Southern Republican politicians. Years and years of bumper-sticker campaigns proclaiming unions as corrupt and filled with thugs have left the prospect of working for low-wages in insecure jobs at manufacturing plants seem like the better end of the deal. 

It's paid off well for coporations. Government-subsidized plants and improvements. Tax breaks. Government-funded worker training programs. More for the CEO to pocket, and much, much less for the guy or lady working the line.

How has this union hate served the workers? Well, not so well.

Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee, workers fear retaliation if they report on-the-job injuries, survey shows:

Of 99 workers surveyed, 26 of whom were interviewed in depth, one-third said they avoid reporting on-the-job injuries out of fear of punishment from managers and supervisors. Half of them said Nissan contests injuries that workers claim are job-related. "The first thing they want to know is what are your hobbies," a 26-year veteran Nissan worker told the surveyors. "If you have a hobby, that is where the injury happened."

Unions are on the wane in the south, but not gone. With more reports like this, and with more awareness of what exactly the loss of security means for American workers, we can only hope that trend stops – and reverses – for manufacturing in the southern states.


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