Renault-Nissan was criticized after the alliance turned down a meeting with a member of the French parliament at a Nissan U.S. factory in Canton, Mississippi, which the United Auto Workers (UAW) hopes to unionize.
Christian Hutin, a member of the French National Assembly, is seeking to have French officials put pressure on Nissan to allow workers to unionize.
Hutin visited Mississippi on Tuesday to meet with workers, labor leaders and others. The French government owns about 20 percent of Renault, Nissan’s largest shareholder.
Hutin sought a meeting with Nissan officials at the plant but was turned away because of “the demands of the business,” the automaker said in a statement. UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel criticized the decision in a statement, calling it deeply troubling.
“This is just the latest development in a pattern of bad behavior by the alliance, which refuses to engage with U.S. and international authorities on this matter,” he said.
The UAW, which has eyed unionization at the Canton plant for years, has accused Nissan of undermining organizing efforts by intimidating workers, a charge the automaker has denied.
“In every country where Nissan has operations, we follow both the spirit and the letter of the law,” the automaker said in a statement. “Nissan not only respects labor laws, but we work to ensure that all employees are aware of these laws, understand their rights and enjoy the freedom to express their opinions and elect their representation as desired.”
In a statement, Hutin said he would “be informing the French government and French President [Francois] Hollande about the anti-union practices in Canton,” saying French officials “cannot ignore Renault-Nissan’s anti-worker culture.”
About 6,200 workers are employed at Nissan’s Canton plant, which produces the Altima, Murano, Frontier and Titan.