On Friday, rapper and actor Common held a concert in Jackson, Mississippi, to support Nissan workers in nearby Canton who are trying to organize and join a union. Common was joined at the concert by actor Danny Glover, and Sean (Diddy) Combs sent a video message of support, saying "my heart is with you, my spirit is with you and the workers at Nissan. Workers' rights are civil rights."
We saw the kind of pressure and intimidation the workers are likely to face in last month's union representation election at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And in the Volkswagen election, the company had promised neutrality in the election, a promise Nissan has emphatically not made. On the other hand, Joseph B. Atkins argued in the wake of the Volkswagen election that:
The workers who voted in Chattanooga were predominantly white in a Republican stronghold in a Republican-dominated state. Mississippi is also Republican-ruled, but the Nissan plant has an 80-percent black workforce and is located near the capital city of Jackson, one of the few Democratic strongholds in Mississippi. Then there's the legacy of civil rights in Mississippi.Whatever the campaign's eventual outcome, it's good that right now, the workers know they have some celebrity support.