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UAW Protests Teamsters Honda Effort

May 6, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ The United Auto Workers, which failed to unionize Honda autoworkers in the 1980s, is protesting a Teamsters effort to organize the automaker’s Ohio plants.

The UAW says in a complaint sent to the AFL-CIO that it alone should be allowed to try to organize the autoworkers. Both the Teamsters and the UAW are members of the labor federation.

``The International Union, UAW hereby requests exclusivity in seeking to organize production and maintenance employees of Honda of America at its facilities in Marysville, Ohio,″ said a letter signed by UAW President Stephen P. Yokich.

The Teamsters made the complaint public late Wednesday. UAW spokesman Reg McGhee would not comment.

AFL-CIO counsel Larry Gold said the organization had received something regarding a dispute over Honda’s Ohio operations, but he would not elaborate.

The UAW represents workers in the auto industry’s ``Big Three″ _ Ford, General Motors and Chrysler _ but has not been successful in unionizing the work force at U.S. plants run exclusively by a Japanese company, including Honda. The UAW filed election petitions for Ohio Honda workers in 1985 and 1989, but no elections were held.

``While no new election petitions have been filed in recent years, the UAW has never abandoned its contacts with its UAW in-plant organizing committee,″ the letter said.

Teamsters Local 413 of Columbus has been gathering signatures from workers at Honda’s four Ohio plants and plans to file a petition with the National Labor Relations Board later this month. Honda workers say they went to the Teamsters, known for organizing the freight industry, because they were not making progress with the UAW.

``We haven’t violated anything. Those people came to us. We never went to them,″ Local 413 President Dave Carter said. He said the local would continue its organizing efforts.

Chip Roth, spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said the union was still reviewing the complaint, dated April 27, and wasn’t sure what its next step would be.

Local 413 was handling the labor push for the Honda plants, but the International would be available to assist if the Teamsters choose to fight the complaint, Roth said.

Honda, which began building motorcycles in Ohio in 1979, operates plants in Anna, East Liberty and two in Marysville. The company employs about 13,200 in the state.

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