Honda to give US auto workers 11% raise

SAN FRANCISCO: Honda Motor Co will hike the pay of some US employees by 11% following the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) historic contract victories at its unionised Detroit competitors, according to a company memo seen by Bloomberg.

“Honda continuously reviews our total rewards packages to ensure we remain competitive within our industry,” the company’s human resources department wrote in a memo for locations including Ohio, Indiana and Georgia.

“Effective Monday, Jan 8, 2024, associates on pay progressions will receive base wage increases of 11%.”

While non-union automakers race to boost pay and keep the union out of its gates, the UAW is trying to organise foreign-owned factories in the United States along with Tesla Inc and upstart Rivian Automotive Inc.

The union has already begun seeking support at those companies.

On its Facebook page, the UAW told employees at Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Tesla, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mazda, and Rivian that there is “a better life is out there. It’s up to you to take action. Join our movement, and join the UAW.”

The link leads to a page where interested workers can give the union their contact information.

Honda spokesman Chris Abbruzzese said that in addition to the pay raise, the company would shorten progression time for production associates at its US facilities.

He said that since 2021, Honda has added more than 10 new benefits including childcare reimbursement and a student loan repayment programme.

“We will continue to look for opportunities to ensure that we provide an excellent employment experience for Honda associates,” Abbruzzese said in an email.

The UAW’s high-profile strike and record-breaking contract wins have buoyed efforts to organise at non-union firms where it has long struggled to secure footholds.

Honda’s wage hike followed Toyota Motor Corp’s earlier this month that will increase the highest wage for most assembly line workers by 9.2% in January.

UAW president Shawn Fain said raises like Toyota’s are a direct result of the UAW’s success, and won’t be enough to stop the union from organising those companies.

“Toyota, if they were doing it out of the kindness of their heart, they could have chosen to do it a year ago,” Fain said in an interview with Bloomberg News last week.

In a Nov 3 memo viewed by Bloomberg, Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc (SIA), the only US manufacturing site for Subaru Corp, said it has been asked by “many” employees to respond to the Detroit automaker agreements.

“It is SIA’s intentions to continue to respond to market conditions and inflationary pressures responsibly and reasonably as our financial means permit us to do so,” the company said in an internal memo, adding that it plans to announce a formal response on Nov 22.

In an emailed statement, SIA spokesman Craig Koven said the company would “be providing our associates a pre-holiday announcement that will include a response to current industry circumstances.”

Nissan Motor Co said in a statement that it aims to be “an employer of choice, offering compensation and benefits above market norms.”

It added that it would continue to “monitor conditions to maintain our competitiveness.”

Under the UAW’s tentative agreements with General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Stellantis NV, union members will get 11% raises as soon as the new contracts are ratified.

Over the life of the contract, the automakers agreed to give a 25% wage increase and restoration of a cost-of-living allowance, which takes top pay up 33% over that time, as well as giving new workers a faster progression to the top wage of US$42 an hour. — Bloomberg

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Honda , US , strike , union


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