Oracle of Delphi

Toyota faces union vote in Canada

14 posts in this topic

David Barkholz

and Lindsay Chappell

Automotive News

March 17, 2008 - 4:31 pm ET

UPDATED: 3/17/08 5:38 p.m. EDT

DETROIT -- A union vote is set for Thursday, March 20, at Toyota's assembly plant in Canada.

The Canada branch of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union is trying to organize about 3,100 workers at the plant in Cambridge, Ontario. The plant is about an hour west of Toronto.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. is disputing a union's bid to organize the assembly plant.

The union is optimistic about the vote in light of a reduction in new-hire wages and other benefit cuts over the past several months, said Ian Morland, lead organizer for the union's Canada branch.

Toyota produces the Corolla and Matrix cars and Lexus RX 350 crossover in Cambridge. The automaker also plans to open an assembly plant in Woodstock, Ontario, this autumn to produce the Toyota RAV4.

On March 14, Toyota filed a challenge to the Machinists, claiming that the union miscalculated the number of eligible workers in Cambridge. The union claimed to have support from a pool of 3,100 eligible employees. According to Toyota's paperwork, the plant employs more than that.

Toyota's challenge asks the Ontario Labour Board to seal the election results until it rules on whether the union has correctly identified the plant bargaining committee.

A statement issued on Monday by Toyota said, " The company will challenge the union to prove that they have enough signed cards (40 percent of the bargaining unit) and will request the vote be sealed until the Board provides a ruling."

The Canadian Auto Workers union has tried and failed on numerous occasions to organize the Cambridge plant. The last effort was in 2000.

Similarly, the UAW has been trying to organize Toyota's U.S. plants -- particularly the sprawling assembly operations in Georgetown, Ky. The UAW Web site has been maintaining a " Support Toyota Workers!" link for several months.

In Cambridge, Morland said the Machinists union set the stage for the vote by collecting signatures of more than 40 percent of the plant workers.

In September, Toyota cut new-hire wages from $30 an hour Canadian to $25 an hour, he said. Workers also have faced more out-of-pocket costs for supplemental health care coverage, he said.

Workers are worried that Toyota will try to take advantage of new-hire UAW wage reductions negotiated by the Detroit 3 to drive down wages even further, Morland said.

He said results of the vote probably would be unavailable until after the weekend.

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They have a right to have a union if they want to- it's the workers call on this, and if Toyota tries funny business, the fur will fly.

Oh, I almost forgot:

:Toyota:

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They need to feel the pain GM has for years stick it to 'em they want a Union give one. Those bastards should pay and pay dearly and then Toyota see how easy it is to get out of the that $h! whole. :Toyota::deathwatch:

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if one falls victim, they will all get more confidence about voting... toyota's competative edge will crumble

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I'm actually rooting for Toyota on this one...

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They need to feel the pain GM has for years stick it to 'em they want a Union give one.

Toyota has dealt with the union for decades here in California!

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They need more than just Cali.

I see where you guys are coming from whe you say this...

I'm actually rooting for Toyota on this one...

+1

the enemy of my enemy is my friend

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The union withdrew its application. There was some discrepency about the number of workers who had registered to push for a union vote. Toyota issued a challenge that not enough workers had signed on to allow the vote. The union counter-charged that Toyota was playing hanky panky with the true number of employees.

Go figure.

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No, actually the union accused Toyota of fudging how many employees actually worked at the plant.

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