The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers filed an NLRB election petition to represent 87 tool and die maintenance technicians at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee auto plant. At the Smyrna facility, Nissan employs approximately 4,300 production and maintenance workers. The IAM union is trying to slice a very small group out of the whole. The IAM’s effort follows two previous UAW losses to represent all of the production and maintenance workers at Nissan’s Smyrna plant.
This is the second micro-unit test for auto manufacturers within the past few years. In 2015, the UAW won a micro-unit election of about 160 skilled maintenance workers at the VW plant in Chattanooga. But, the UAW’s election victory stalled at the NLRB, when VW contended that the micro-unit was not an appropriate bargaining unit under the federal law. Rather than wait for all of the litigation and appeals, the UAW dropped its micro-unit argument and filed another election petition to represent all of the VW production and maintenance workers. The UAW lost that election.
Now, Nissan is contesting the IAM’s micro-unit argument, contending that there is no community-of-interests difference between the 87 tool and die maintenance technicians and all of the other Nissan production and maintenance technicians. The NLRB will decide whether the IAM’s petition for election moves forward.