Bob King, the newly-elected president of the United Auto Workers, is vowing to take on Toyota on multiple fronts and accused the Japanese auto giant of deliberately abandoning unionized workers in California.
One of the top priorities for the UAW is organizing the rest of the growing Toyota manufacturing network in the U.S. Until now, the only facility represented by the union was the NUMMI plant, near San Francisco, which Toyota decided to close after the break-up of its joint venture with General Motors.
“We’re not going to wait” for proposed legislation that could impact organizing efforts, said King, who was chosen by UAW leaders during their national convention, this week. In a fiery speech in which he vowed to return the union to its roots, the UAW President declared, “We’re going to whatever is necessary to ensure that Toyota abandons its anti-union efforts.”
King invoked the legendary Walter Reuther, who led the union for 24 year until his sudden death in 1970, telling UAW leaders, “We’re all in this together. We will fight for reform. But let us remember the UAW of the 1930s and 1940s didn’t wait on government legislation. The strike that changed the world, the Flint sit-down strike, was illegal,” said King, referring to the long confrontation with General Motors that effectively created the modern UAW.