Labor Pains

By Bill Maher

Last month, workers at a Nissan plant in Mississippi overwhelmingly voted not to join the United Auto Workers union. Bernie Sanders was fighting the good fight; he went down to Mississippi to march, he wrote op-eds, he talked up the vote on TV. But the union lost once again and, with UAW members now only building 54 percent of the cars and trucks manufactured in the U.S. (it was 85 percent in 1999), if things don’t change soon the union’s going to disappear altogether. 

Why do southerners consistently vote against unions? There are a variety of reasons (including the most obvious one, that Nissan’s wages are pretty good for Mississippi), but I suspect a big factor is that unions are seen as a “northern” phenomenon, coupled with the eternal tendency of southerners to see themselves as victims.

Meanwhile Tesla is also being accused of illegally intimidating workers who were passing out pro-union literature. Elon Musk denied this, then sent workers an email promising to give them frozen yogurt and a build a mini-roller coaster in the plant. (I wish I were joking, but no.)

At any rate, we’re a long way from when the late great Abe Lincoln, said, “Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”