Posted June 23, 2010 at 2:22 pm, in From National Labor Committee
By Charlie Kernaghan
Director, National Labor Committee
Chinese workers on strike at the Honda Lock factory need the support of American workers as they develop a genuine, grassroots movement for better wages and real worker unions.
The workers at Honda Lock earn just 67 cents an hour, $5.38 a day, $27 a week. No one can live with even a modicum of dignity on such wages – not even in China. The striking workers are demanding at least a 50 percent wage increase, which would bring their hourly wage up to $1.34 an hour — or $10.76 a day and $54 a week.
Clearly Honda can afford this.
Please sign this letter to Honda’s CEO in Japan. Tell him to do the right thing: End the threats of violence and firings. Negotiate in good faith.
Cracks are appearing in China’s factory model – which, over the past two decades has consisted of grueling hours, seven-day workweeks, below-subsistence wages, prison-like discipline, primitive living conditions and zero rights. The All China Federation of Trade Unions is now openly being discussed as a shill for the government. A very knowledgeable activist in China told the National Labor Committee that the strike at Honda is:
“an event of historic proportions!. . .This strike is not a pure struggle over money, but also involves demands to reform the workers’ union. It reflects the fact that the struggle of China’s working class (made up of mostly migrant laborers) has developed to the stage where workers are demanding organization. We are closely monitoring the development and aftermath of this situation. The Honda strike has huge significance for China’s workers. Many Chinese workers are closely following this strike.”
The Honda Lock factory in Zhongshan, China exports tons of auto parts to the huge Honda Lock warehouse in Bremen, Georgia. From there, the key sets, outside door handles, door locks, door mirrors and wheel sensors made in China are shipped out across the U.S. and Canada. American workers must raise their voices to support the just requests of Chinese workers whose labor results in auto parts are pouring into North America. This effort is more than altruism and solidarity. It’s also self-interest. The lower Chinese wages, the lower American wages.
China’s workers are attempting what all the economic pundits say is necessary: they are struggling to improve working conditions and wages – an accomplishment that would lift all ships in the global economy and end the race to the bottom.
It’s crucial for Americans to protest immediately as the Chinese Government is now censoring all news accounts of growing strikes across China.
The National Labor Committee is devoted to defending the human rights of workers in the global economy. The NLC investigates and exposes human and labor rights abuses committed by U.S. companies producing goods in the developing world. Under Charlie Kernaghan’s leadership, the NLC conducts public education, research and popular campaigns that empower U.S. citizens to help workers learn their rights and defend them.