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Report: UAW might complain about Honda hiring

October 10, 2007

Honda Motor Co.?s announcement in August that it would limit hiring for its new Greensburg assembly plant to 20 Indiana counties is the latest sign Japanese automakers are hiring outside of union strongholds,The Wall Street Journalreported today.

In a front-page article focused on the new plant, the newspaper said the United Auto Workers is considering filing a formal complaint about Honda?s decision with the National Labor Relations Board or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Companies are forbidden from discriminating on the basis of union affiliation, but are allowed to hire from within geographic boundaries. The 20 counties are within an hour?s drive of Greensburg, which is about halfway between Indianapolis and Cincinnati.

The heavily rural counties do not include such union strongholds as Anderson, where General Motors Corp. once employed thousands.

Honda says it wants to hire people who can commute to the $550 million plant, which will make Civic cars when it opens next fall, and that opening the hiring process beyond the 20 counties would slow the hiring process. Honda plans to hire 2,000 production workers.

Indiana did not force Honda to open its hiring process across the state, as Alabama did when Honda and Hyundai Motor Co. launched plants there.

When Toyota Motor Corp. opened its assembly plant in Princeton, it hired primarily from within a 50-mile radius despite taking applications from farther away.

Honda?s decision to stay within 20 counties also has raised suspicions of discrimination among black leaders, the newspaper said. Eighty percent of the population in the counties is white, and virtually all minorities in the footprint live in Marion County, the only urban county to make Honda?s list.
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