What appeared to be a legitimate chance to organize workers at Nissan Motor Mfg. Corp.'s Smyrna, TN, assembly plant crumbles into the fourth humiliating defeat at Smyrna for the United Auto Workers union after hourly workers reject unionization by more than a 2:1 margin. Some 3,103 of 4,589 eligible workers cast ballots Oct. 3 under the watchful eye of the National Labor Relations Board.

UAW leaders blame the loss on company intimidation of workers, even alleging the automaker conducted extensive and illegal surveillance of pro-union workers. “That kind of behavior is just plain wrong,” says UAW President Stephen Yokich. Nissan denies the allegations. The NLRB is investigating charges against Nissan. The UAW can't ask for another election at Smyrna for 12 months, but has opened an office in Marysville, OH, to try again to organize workers at four Honda America Mfg. Inc. plants.