The Canadian Auto Workers union, led by Ken Lewenza, is stirring things up at Honda's Ontario plant. However, that could all change after the CAW's scheduled contract talks with General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler in September.
Workers at Honda's Alliston plant in Ontario recently received a company handout that said their wages of about $31 an hour were at the same level as workers at the Detroit Three's facilities in the region. However, the CAW claims the calculations omit lower-paid contract workers, and instead include full bonuses that not every worker receives. Honda representatives were not available for comment – we’ll update this space as soon as we have more information.
Winning comparable wages isn't the only item on the union boss's agenda; Lewenza also wants to improve relations between labor and management. “We're competitors,” he said to WardsAuto, “but if everyone is concentrating on wages, they're going to go down.”
Lewenza has had his sights set on the Honda plant, along with two Toyota manufacturing sites in Canada because it could help strengthen union membership. While some Honda workers may support the labor union, CAW Quebec director John-Pierre Fortin told us things haven't been moving as fast with Toyota. "It's a matter of interest and the number of individuals we've been approached by," Fortin said. Honda has demonstrated both.
The upcoming talks with the Detroit Three will put issues like the strengthening Canadian dollar on the table. Some automakers complain it's made Canada the most expensive place to build vehicles, WardsAuto says. With new union members, the CAW could gain greater bargaining power -- the labor group currently represents roughly 25,000 Detroit Three factory workers.
Honda and Toyota transplant factories aren't the only ones affected by unions. The United Auto Workers has attempted to convince workers at Nissan’s factories in Tennessee and Mississippi that pay disparities exist between the two plants.
Honda's Alliston plant builds the Honda Civic and Honda CR-V, as well as the Acura MDX and Acura ZDX.
Source: Wards Auto