Honda of Canada Manufacturing in Alliston, Ontario, is unique in providing an employee recreation center with an NHL regulation-size hockey arena. But it could soon have another claim to notoriety: The first Japanese auto plant to go union.

According to Ward's Auto, Canadian Auto Workers President Ken Lewenza is bullish on efforts to organize the facility, which builds Honda Civic and CR-V, as well as the Acura MDX and ZDX. "We're getting some enthusiastic and strong support," he told Ward's, "but we're not there yet."

Both the CAW and the United Auto Workers have been trying for decades to organize at one of the Japanese transplant factories, but have met resistance, both from employees as well as the automakers. Lewenza says Honda has devoted "resources and time into keeping the union out," according to the report, including giving employees a handout that the CAW feels misrepresents Honda's wages when compared to unionized Chrysler, Ford and General Motors plants in Canada.

The report says labor talks between the CAW and the Big Three scheduled for September will be crucial for the union, given the resurgent strength of the Canadian dollar. Canada's labor costs are viewed as too high by the automakers, setting the stage for potential conflicts at the bargaining table. Of course, if the CAW could add to its 25,000 member base with Honda's roughly 4,500 Canadian workers, it could only help the union's negotiations.

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