Protesters say Nissa has suppressed worker rights in Mississippi. Here, state Sen. Vincent Fort speaks to protesters.

Nissan rejects charges by union-led protests in Marietta

Scores of protesters gathered outside a Marietta car dealership on Thursday, objecting to what they said were violations of workers’ civils rights at a Nissan plant in Mississippi.

Organizers accuse Nissan of forcing temporary workers to labor in unsafe conditions in the Canton, Miss. plant.

“They have faced threats and efforts by Nissan to silence their voices on the job, according to the federal government,” according to a statement issued by the demonstrators.

Most of the plant’s approximately 5,000 workers are African American. Many were hired as temp agency employees and work in unsafe conditions, she said.

Protesters said they want to pressure Nissan by mounting protests at a number of dealerships across the southeast that sell the company’s vehicles.

The company rejects the accusations, a Nissan spokesman said last night.

“Nissan’s history reflects that we truly value our employees and respect their right to decide who should represent them,” said Parul Bajaj, manager of corporate communications for Nissan North America. “Nissan Canton and Smyrna employees enjoy good, stable, safe jobs with some of the highest wages and strongest benefits in Mississippi and Tennessee. The allegations being made by the union against Nissan are completely unfounded.”

The demonstration was primarily organized by metro Atlanta unions, including the Union of Auto Workers, but also some other activist groups like Jobs With Justice.

Among their complaints is that Nissan has unfairly suppressed attempts by some workers to unionize.

Like many of the automakers in the south, the Nissan plant is not unionized.

Included among the speakers were local clergy as well as state Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta).

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