Toyota workers in Canada to vote on whether to join the Unifor union

Article by Andrew Christian, on April 2, 2014

Toyota Motor Corp.’s around 6,500 workers at its three Canadian sites will vote next week on whether to join the Unifor union. Unifor said in a statement that the result of the election is expected to be known this month. Toyota’s three plants in southwestern Ontario build the Toyota Corolla sedan, Corolla Matrix hatchback, the Lexus RX 350 luxury SUV and the Toyota RAV4.

Greg Mordue a spokesman for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc., confirmed they do have Unifor’s application and they currently reviewing. He said that the number of workers that would be covered by the proposed bargaining unit would be “significantly” higher than the 6,590 employees the union included in its filing.

“We’ll go through a process in the coming days of providing the specifics of what we believe the bargaining unit should be,” Mordue said. Unifor is aiming to win the "yes" of Toyota’s Canadian workers, as it is already representing workers at the local units of General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Unifor had previously tried organize Toyota's Canadian plants but failed. Unifor said it is "absolutely confident" that it has enough support for certification by the labor board. Forty percent of workers are needed to sign cards for union certification, under Ontario provincial labor law. If its organization drive is successful, Unifor plans to start collective bargaining immediately.

Unifor said in the statement that around 90 percent of Toyota’s sites around the world are unionized. It said that workers in Canada have several concerns like wages, pensions, contracts and health and safety issues. Factory employment in has dropped 24 percent in the past decade as the Canadian dollar appreciate at par with the US dollar. IHS Automotive expects that Mexico to surpass Canada as the largest vehicle exporter to the US by 2015.

Topics: toyota, canada

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