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Georgetown activists protest working conditions

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Activists protest Toyota conditions

Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

A group of Kentucky community activists including labor and church leaders will gather outside Toyota Motor Corp.'s oldest and biggest U.S. assembly plant today to deliver recommendations, including limits on the use of lower-paid temporary workers, to improve working conditions at the factory.

The group's high-profile appearance, which will be followed by a news conference, is taking place amid mounting efforts by the United Auto Workers union to organize foreign-owned plants in the United States to offset the drop in its membership rolls.

Toyota's Georgetown plant is a prime target because of the Japanese automaker's prominence in the U.S. market and because some of its workers already have expressed discontent in lawsuits.

The group, calling itself the Kentucky Workers' Rights Board, drew up its recommendations after a June 10 hearing that included accounts from current and former plant workers and labor experts. The workers' complaints ranged from what they described as unjustified firings, on-the-job injuries and reliance on lower-paid temporary workers.

The group issued a statement Monday announcing a news conference today in Georgetown following a meeting with Toyota's management.

But the Japanese automaker said no meeting was planned.

"We've declined to meet with them," said Mike Goss, a spokesman for Toyota's U.S. manufacturing subsidiary in Erlanger, Ky. "We're happy to accept the written recommendations and we'll decide later how to respond."

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Edited by mustang84

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