Subaru is a well-known Japanese automobile manufacturer, producing top-of-the-line cars and SUVs. Though many in the automobile industry are familiar with the brand, not everyone is aware of their labor practices. As labor unions have been in the news lately, it’s worth discussing whether Subaru is a unionized company or not and what it means to the company. In this article, we will explore Subaru’s unionization history and its impact on both the company and its employees.
What is a Labor Union?
A labor union represents the collective interests of its members, who are usually employees of the same organization or industry. Labor unions are formed to negotiate better terms and conditions of employment with employers, including better wages, working conditions, and benefits. In the United States, many unions are members of the AFL-CIO, which is the largest federation of unions that represents some 12.5 million workers.
The History of Labor Unions in the Automobile Industry
The automobile industry has a long history of labor relations, and unionization efforts date back to the early 20th century. One of the first labor unions established in the automobile industry was the United Auto Workers (UAW), which was formed in the 1930s. This union has remained significant in the industry and has represented workers at many automobile manufacturers, including Subaru.
When Did Subaru Become Unionized?
Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. (SIA), which is Subaru’s only manufacturing plant in the United States, became unionized in 1987. This plant is located in Lafayette, Indiana, and employs more than 5,000 workers. The workers at SIA are represented by UAW Local 685.
The Process of Unionization at Subaru
In the years leading up to unionization, workers at the SIA plant were becoming more dissatisfied with their working conditions and the benefits that they received. After a few failed attempts to unionize in the early 1980s, UAW was finally successful in 1987. The unionization of the plant did not happen without resistance, however, as the management at Subaru was not supportive of the move. Despite that, the workers persisted, and the union was established.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Being a Unionized Company
One benefit of being a unionized company is that employees have a collective bargaining unit that negotiates on their behalf for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. Unions are also known for providing training and professional development programs for their members. However, there are also some drawbacks to unionization. Many business owners and managers believe that it can be challenging to satisfy the collective demands of workers while still running a profitable business. Unionized companies are often under more scrutiny from their workers and society, and there can be tension between management and union reps.
How Does Being Unionized Affect Subaru’s Employees?
Subaru employees who are members of UAW Local 685 receive better wages, benefits, and job security than they would without a union. They also have a say in decisions that impact their work and work environment. The workers at SIA are happy with the working conditions, as their union negotiates on their behalf for protection against unjust or unfair treatment from management. The union also provides healthcare, dental, and vision insurance, life insurance, and a retirement plan.
Subaru is a unionized car manufacturer that has successfully managed to balance the interests of its management, workers, and customers. Subaru’s long-standing partnership with UAW has enabled their workers at SIA to achieve better working conditions, employee benefits, and job security. Even though there are some perceived drawbacks to unionization, labor unions such as UAW are significant players in advocating for the wellbeing and rights of workers.