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Bernie Sanders speaks to Nissan factory workers during the March on Mississippi

"It is time for justice for working people," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told the Nissan factory workers. (Photo: New Orleans DSA/Twitter)

Bernie Sanders, Nina Turner, Civil Rights Leaders Demand Workers' Rights at Mississippi Nissan Factory

'What corporations understand is if they stop workers in Mississippi from forming a union, they can keep wages down in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania'

Nika Knight Beauchamp

While President Donald Trump was tweeting from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, former presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was doing something Trump had promised to do throughout his campaign: advocating for workers.

On Saturday, Sanders and former Ohio state senator Nina Turner, a Democrat, led hundreds of workers in a "March on Mississippi" in Canton, Miss., to demand that Nissan grant factory employees the right to hold a union vote free from fear or intimidation.

"If Mississippi Nissan workers succeed, it will send a powerful message in the south and across this country that working people are prepared to fight for justice."
—Bernie Sanders

Also taking part in the march were NAACP president Cornell Williams Brooks, Sierra Club president Aaron Mair, and the actor Danny Glover.

The march culminated in the delivery of a letter to Nissan officials "demanding the company halt its ongoing harassment of African-American workers who are organizing to form a union," the coalition of rights advocates behind the march, known as the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan (MAFFAN), wrote in a statement.

Nissan has come under so much fire for its labor abuses of its Mississippi employees that politicians in France, where Nissan's corporate partner Renault is headquartered, released a series of videos expressing their solidarity with the Canton workers' fights for union rights.

"It's empowering to see so many leaders, both here and abroad, offering their support to us as we speak out against Nissan’s attacks on our civil rights at the plant," said Nissan employee Morris Mock, who works on the paint line at the Canton plant. "I have two daughters, and I want them to grow up in a community where they will have a real shot at a good future and a decent living. That's why I'm going to keep fighting for good jobs at Nissan's plant, no matter what it takes."

Actor Danny Glover explained why the Nissan fight is important for workers all across America: "So long as we have a haven for oppressive work conditions such as Mississippi, workers are not safe anywhere in the country, because businesses and companies can seek refuge in a state like Mississippi and escape providing proper work conditions for workers throughout this country."

"What corporations understand is if they stop workers in Mississippi from forming a union, they can keep wages down in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania," tweeted Sanders.

"It is time for justice for working people," he told a gathering of workers:

"We cannot save this planet on the back of a degraded labor," said the Sierra Club's Mair during the rally.

"What you are fighting for is a righteous fight," Turner told the Nissan workers. "You are not asking for too much."

Watch Turner's full speech here:

And watch a recording of the full rally here.

"If Mississippi Nissan workers succeed, it will send a powerful message in the south and across this country that working people are prepared to fight for justice and for a fair share of the economic pie," Sanders wrote in a Medium article published after the march.

Participants, journalists, and supporters posted photos and videos from the day's action under the hashtags #MarchonMississippi and #DoBetterNissan:

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

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