Honda Requiring Office Workers To Build Cars At Ohio Assembly Plant
COVID-19 infections continue to rise dramatically in the United States, but most businesses are still open. This is true for automakers nationwide, although a new report from WOSU Public Media suggests Honda is taking aggressive action to keep its Marysville assembly plant operating.
The report says Honda is requiring certain office workers to fill positions on the plant’s assembly line. This has been confirmed at Motor1.com in a statement from a Honda spokesperson:
“Due to high customer demand for our products and the need to carefully manage production during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing temporary staff issues that require the support of associates who do not typically work in the production. We have implemented such temporary measures in the past, and we are working diligently to attract and hire associates to meet our production needs. “
Honda employees involved in purchasing, research and development, and accounting would be among those contacted for assembly line work. Honda’s official statement says the company has taken similar action in the past, but the WHO report identifies an anonymous employee who claims to have never seen this action taken before. This employee also reportedly said the process started with Honda asking for volunteers, but then became mandatory because there weren’t many volunteers.
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This raises additional questions, not least of which is the type of work that office workers are tasked with performing. In addition, what type of training is in place so that these employees are aware of the assembly work? On the health side, how many workers in the production line are sidelined at the plant to require this step? Honda did not immediately respond to our request for further information on these matters.
Honda’s main statement, however, focuses on measures taken to ensure the safety of workers on the assembly line:
“With tens of thousands of associates building products in America, we are not alone in having members of our team impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our associates is our highest priority and, acting with great caution anytime any member of our team tests positive or is suspected of COVID-19, we use contact tracing to determine those who may have been exposed to the affected team member, sometimes resulting in the need for additional quarantined associates. These precautions, coupled with a high demand for our products, created the need for certain support associates to work temporarily in the production area. “
The WHO report suggests that not all Honda employees are comfortable with the arrangement, citing concerns about working in areas where people have already tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, the report quotes a representative of the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) who questioned the training of these people who suddenly fell into the situation. It is claimed that employees sent into production do not receive any training before they get to work. The Marysville plant is not part of the UAW.
It is not known how long this situation will last. The sprawling Marysville plant produces several Honda and Acura vehicles, including the Accord and CR-V, as well as the Acura TLX and ILX