The Unifor union would delay a vote at Toyota Motor Corp.'s sites in Canada after the carmaker said that around 7,500 workers would be eligible to join the unit. The union has already filed for certification with the Ontario labor board and announced that voting would start next week. Unifor said over 3,000 workers at the sites have already signed union cards, and it would withdraw the application as it hopes to get more signed.
The union had believed that around 6,500 workers were eligible. Unifor National President Jerry Dias remarked that the nearly 1,000 workers “is too much commitment for anybody to ever walk away.” A majority of Toyota’s Canadian workers must vote “yes” for a union to be formed.
According to Toyota spokesman Greig Mordue, the carmaker has hired 1,000 new contract workers and shifted around 1,000 to permanent status since the start of 2013. He said that Toyota would ask Unifor to return the information it has on the workers, and may challenge the process under privacy laws.
Mordue remarked as part of the process under the Labor Relations Act, Toyota is obliged to provide a full list of every worker in the bargaining unit, which included names, work locations and positions of all of the carmaker’s production and maintenance workers.
Mordue said that there is a concern that Dias fully intends to use the list in the ongoing unionization efforts. A winning "yes" vote would make Toyota's Canadian site become the first wholly owned Toyota plants in North America to unionize.