Actor Danny Glover backs effort to unionize Nissan plants - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Actor Danny Glover backs effort to unionize Nissan plants

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Labor unions draw strong opinions on both sides, and the Nissan plant in Smyrna has long been a bit unusual in that it is not unionized.

However, one group is calling for that to change, and it is getting some help from a Hollywood star.

Nissan has plants in Canton, MS, and Smyrna and Dechard, TN, and its corporate leaders say their employees are happy without a union.

Actor and activist Danny Glover is traveling with the Mississippi Student Justice Alliance, which visited Nashville on Tuesday to mobilize support for workers in Nissan's southeastern U.S. plants. The group claims plant employees who want to unionize are being intimidated.

"I'm here on behalf of these workers and the fact that they stood up allows me to be here. They are making their demands heard," Glover said.

Members of the AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers members from General Motors' Spring Hill plant and a smattering of area religious leaders gathered in support at Poag Auditorium at Tennessee State University.

The biggest applause of the night was for a dozen Smyrna Nissan workers who stood on stage to be recognized.

"These courageous men and women are standing here in the face of untold intimidation," Glover said.

Nissan corporate in Franklin issued a statement to Channel 4 News, which it said, in part:

"At Nissan, we believe the choice of who represents the employees is theirs to make, and we have always followed the letter and spirit of the law when it comes to these issues. Our employees have chosen to represent themselves in a relationship with the company that is based on transparency and mutual respect."

Glover pointed out that he wasn't in Nashville to promote any movies - rather, he just wanted to show support for the workers.

The tour continues to Washington later this week.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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