By Daniel Wiessner
(Reuters) -A group of technicians at Nissan Motor Co’s Smyrna, Tennessee, factory voted overwhelmingly against joining a union on Thursday, marking yet another defeat for organized labor in the U.S. South.
The tool and die workers in a 62-9 vote rejected a campaign by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), according to results announced by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board.
The 75 technicians would have been the first group to unionize at the Japanese automaker’s largest assembly plant in North America.
The union has five days to file objections to the election results.
Last month, the Democrat-controlled National Labor Relations Board rejected Nissan’s claim that any election should also involve thousands of production-line workers because they share working conditions with the technicians. The Smyrna plant has more than 7,000 employees.
Nissan spokesperson Lloryn Love-Carter said, “Nissan respects this decision, and we remain focused on working with employees to drive our future forward together.”
The union in a statement a spokesperson provided said the delayed decision from the labor board – which came two years after IAM first filed a petition to represent the workers – had “a chilling effect” on the union’s campaign.
“The IAM will continue to support these workers so we will be prepared for them to join our union when the time is right again,” the union said.
Unions have struggled for decades to unionize the Smyrna factory, which opened in 1983, and other auto plants in the U.S. South. In 1989 and 2001, workers in Smyrna voted overwhelmingly against joining the United Auto Workers union.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by Chris Reese and Josie Kao)