Thus, historians agree that unionizing southern plants would require a dramatic cultural shift.”In the North you work for the UAW first and the company second,” says Hoffer at Virginia Commonwealth University. “It’s just never been that way in the South. You work for the company first.”
That attitude certainly is reflected in previous failed attempts to organize the transplant factories. Two decades of work by the UAW to force a vote at a Toyota factory in Georgetown, Ky., have yielded no results; votes at a Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., were rejected out of hand by workers in 1989 and 2001.
“There is considerable tension between the union and Southern autoworkers,” says John Heitmann, a history professor at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, who has studied the auto industry for a decade. “It’s in part due to the strong strain of individualism that’s a part of the South. There’s no real compassion for union brothers down there.”
via Auto Bailout: Southern Workers Watch and Worry – BusinessWeek.