Unifor seeking to represent 6,500 workers at Ont. Toyota plants

Union says workers have concerns regarding wages, pensions, contracts, and health and safety standards.

March 31, 2014   by The Canadian Press

KITCHENER, Ont. — The Unifor labour union is seeking to represent more than 6,500 workers at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada’s three plants in Cambridge and Woodstock, Ont.

The union says it has filed an application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board to become the bargaining agent at Toyota Canada, and it expects its workers to vote in favour of unionization next week.

If Toyota’s workers vote in favour of unionization, the plants would be the first Toyota plants in North America to become unionized.

“I am worried that Toyota team members do not have a real voice at our workplace, which means the company can and does make arbitrary decisions,” said Denton Schriver, a Toyota team member.

The union says Toyota workers have identified a number of concerns including: wages, pensions, contracts, arbitrary decision-making and health and safety standards.

While none of Toyota’s facilities in North America are unionized, 90% of the automakers plants around the world are.

The results of the vote are expected later in April.

Unifor was created by the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers union, and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union. It currently represents 305,000 members in 20 economic sectors.

In February, the United Auto Workers failed to unionize Volkswagen’s only US plant in Tennessee, blaming the defeat on conflicting cultures between the labour-friendly German automaker and an anti-union sentiment in the southern US.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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