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Men carrying signs, wearing armbands in a protest.
Labor Unions
  1. Why May Day is Celebrated by Labor in Japan
  2. Japanese Automobile Companies in the United States
  3. American Auto Companies Borrow Japanese Methods
  4. Japanese Labor Unions and The Wagner Act
  5. Labor Unions and The Taft-Hartley Act
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A woman works on a car interior  on assembly line
A woman works at a Ford-Mazda auto assembly plant in Michigan.
Photo from Jim West.
Japanese Automobile Companies in the United States
When Japanese automobile companies began to set up manufacturing plants in the United States during the 1980s, they worried that the powerful United Auto Workers union (UAW) would force them to use a type of work organization that did not fit with Japanese production methods. In Japan the production system relied on flexible work assignments and cooperative work teams that could perform a wide variety of jobs. This was much different than in the United States where the UAW permitted workers to perform only one task on an assembly line. To get around this problem, many Japanese firms built their American manufacturing plants in right-to-work states, so they could prevent their workers from forming a union affiliated with the United Auto Workers.
Special Terms: right-to-work laws

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