By on July 31, 2020

This isn’t the first time we’ve learned of an “all hands on deck” situation taking place at a U.S. assembly plant. Recall this report from earlier this month, in which sources claimed managers and other white-collar employees hit the floor at General Motors truck plants in a bid to cover absent workers.

It was inevitable, given the reality facing companies hoping to maintain full production amid a viral pandemic. The latest report comes out of Marysville, Ohio — home to an enormous Honda assembly operation. Seems even accountants had to don hardhats.

This week, WOSU Radio reported that office workers at the Honda Marysville Auto Plant were called into action as autoworkers, helping to maintain output of Honda and Acura products as coronavirus cases rise in the state. The station obtained an email from a general manager at the plant, who called on “accounting, purchasing, and research and development” staff to take up temporary positions on the factory floor.

An employee anonymously told the station that it’s the first time they’d ever seen such an action taken, noting that the call-up occurred only after a voluntary effort failed.

“Due to strong customer demand for our products and the need to carefully manage production during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing some temporary staffing issues that require support from associates who do not typically work in production,” a Honda spokesperson told WOSU.

Workers infected with the illness, quarantined because of exposure to it, or just fearful of it, has made maintaining production a challenge. Currently, GM is seeking out-of-state conscripts for the third shift at its Wentzville, Missouri pickup plant. In Marysville, Honda didn’t have to look that far for help in building Honda Accords and CR-Vs, as well as Acura MDX, ILX, TLX, and RDX models.

[Image: Honda]

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16 Comments on “Beancounters to the Rescue? Office Staff Keep Honda Production Afloat in Ohio...”

  • avatar

    They tried this where I use to work, of course we got the dirty jobs, cleaning parts and the such. Of course we weren’t answering the phones. Eventually someone would track us down, and take us back to our desks. After a couple of days we went back to normal duties. That idea was never suggested again.

    • 0 avatar

      Caterpillar did it some years ago. Of course, their purpose was to break the union, which is a little different; I guess they were willing to let phones go unanswered and data go unanalyzed until those uppity blue-collar workers learned their place (on the underside of Sir’s wingtip).

  • avatar

    I think buying any car that was built in the US, Mexico, Europe, or China during 2020 might be a bad idea.

  • avatar

    Hardhats? I’m trying to think of an auto plant where the workers wear hardhats. A heavy truck plant, like the Paccar plant 50 miles from me, or Caterpillar? Yes. A plant that build cars or light trucks? No.

    • 0 avatar

      A lot of the Japanese factories use “bump caps” for certain jobs. More like a plastic baseball cap than a hardhat. Thinner material and no internal webbing suspension. Intended to ward off bumps and scrapes rather than impacts. I’ve never seem bump caps in a UAW plant.

      • 0 avatar

        I worked at a UAW and CAW represented plant for over 36 years . Though not mandatory “.bump caps “were always available free of charge.

        I seemed that my part of the plant was always under construction.. Hard hats were mandatory, and were replaced every 2 years.

    • 0 avatar

      I work at a breakfast cereal plant,, hard hats and steel toes!

      • 0 avatar

        I knew a girl in college who spent her summers working in a Kraft plant putting cheese blocks in the Lunchables tray. 6 days a week with mandatory overtime at $6.50 an hour (min wage was $4.25 at the time). Consequently she was LOADED by student standards during the year. Lived in a comparatively lavish off campus apartment, drove a nearly new Honda Civic (whereas we were all in 10-15 year old wrecks), had money to party every weekend and on spring break. She used to sing a calypso style song about “putting the cheese in the Lunchable” if you asked nicely. She had a nice collection of hairnets.

        • 0 avatar

          When I was in college in the sixties, I worked nights in a cookie factory. The minimum wage was $1.40, but I got $1.60 working in the mixing room. The peanut butter came in 55 gsllon drums, and a couple scoops filled a jar, so I never ran out of peanut butter. I always left work smelling like cookies. I stopped at a store once after work and a woman behind me at the checkout line told me I smelled good enough to eat. Unfortunately, she was almost as old as my grandmother.

        • 0 avatar

          SaulTigh –


          People like this always land on their feet.

    • 0 avatar

      Hardhats in a U.S. automotive plant often means construction or changeover work, where you have new and different people doing new and different jobs in close proximity to the same old people doing the same old jobs in slightly different ways. This sometimes results in people dying in very unpleasant ways… usually the ‘visitors’ (contractors).

    • 0 avatar

      There are youtubes of various Honda plants. A lot of workers in the final assembly line wear baseball hats that have plastic covers underneath. The hat protects workers from accidentally bumping into tools or car bodies as they work underneath the cars or getting in and out of the cabins.

  • avatar

    Definitely off-topic, but when did the US become so adventurous in headlight design? I mean, that picture of the Honda whatever with its multitude of led(?) lights wouldn’t have seen the light of day, pardon the pun, a few years ago. I can even remember when Xenon Headlights were being debated in the US when Europe had had them years. Next, it will be BMW’s with laser headlights et al!

    • 0 avatar

      Once they repealed the sealed beam headlight rule in the US, all heck broke loose. Blame the German automakers, who compete with each other in headlight design. Cars used to have happy faces. Now they look like horror movie monsters.

  • avatar

    Honda can get away with this since they aren’t a union shop. I’m under a collective agreement and often end up doing stuff that isn’t in my job description. It is a waste of money and my time but if my managers are too incompetent to get clerks or housekeepers to do the work at 1/3 my wage, who am I to complain. It comes in handy when bargaining a new collective agreement. We refuse to do any work outside our contract and it almost shuts the place down. It is great for public relations because the public sees that we shouldn’t be pushing paper or doing housekeeping.

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