Honda workers in Greensburg, Indiana are organizing to form the company’s first U.S. union. Workers say they want to join the United Auto Workers because people are “injured almost on a daily basis.”
Honda has responded with vicious anti-union attacks.
The United Auto Workers is accusing Honda of breaking federal labor law, after workers say the company violated their right to try and form a union.
An unfair labor practice charge filed by the UAW against Honda states that the company is “instructing employees not to wear union insignia,” and that Honda “has imposed more onerous production standards and utilized work quality assessments to retaliate against employees who have expressed support for unionization.”
Honda is one of thirteen non-union automakers the UAW is targeting in its national unionization push. The campaign follows this year’s high-profile strike against Ford, GM, and Stellantis that resulted in historic gains.
“I knew there was gonna be pushback, but I didn’t think that they were gonna be so blatant and violating our rights just openly for everyone to see,” said Josh Cupit, who has worked at Honda for 6 years and is involved in the organizing drive in Greensburg.
The UAW has also filed charges against Hyundai’s manufacturing plant in Montgomery, Alabama, and Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. At Volkswagen, management has reportedly threatened workers for talking about the union. Management also tried to stop workers from passing out union information, according to the UAW.
Honda operates twelve auto manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and employs roughly 20,000 autoworkers. After the UAW secured tentative agreements with Ford, GM, and Stellantis that included immediate 11 percent wage increases, Honda announced 11 percent wage increases beginning in 2024.
History of injuries
But low pay isn’t the only reason workers want to unionize. “It’s not about the money for me, not a bit,” said Susan Thompson, a worker at Honda who suffered a hip injury during one of her shifts in 2019. “It’s more about the bullying, the safety issues. How people can get injured and get put right back on the same jobs that they got injured on.”
“I have nobody there when I get in a situation to back me,” she added. “And so that’s why we need a union. It’s exactly why.”
Honda also launched an anti-union website which states management’s position that “there is no need for outside involvement to help us continue the approach that has proved successful for the entire Honda team, our communities and our customers.”
Honda did not immediately respond to More Perfect Union’s request for comment.