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Transplants Face Union Drive on Both Sides of Border

Canadian union targeting Toyota.

by on Jan.21, 2014

The popular RAV 4 is one of the products assembled at Toyota's two plants in Ontario.

Foreign-owned “transplant” assembly lines now produce a major share of the vehicles sold in North America but only a handful have ever been organized, a fact that rankles union leaders on both sides of the border.  And that’s something they’re aiming to change.

While the Detroit-based United Auto Workers Union is targeting Nissan and Volkswagen’s U.S. assembly plants, Unifor, the Canadian union that grew out of the merger of the Canadian Auto  Workers and communications, energy and paperworkers unions, is mounting a major drive to organize employees at two assembly plants operated by Toyota In the province of Ontario.

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The lines in Cambridge and Woodstock, which employ nearly 5,000 workers, are responsible for building a range of vehicles widely sold in North America, including the Lexus RX350, Toyota Corolla and Toyota RAV 4.

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Toyota VP “Invites” UAW To Organize Plants

Executive claims the choice is up to plant workers. Really?

by on Aug.06, 2010

Try if you'd like, Toyota VP Steve St. Angelo tells the UAW.

The United Auto Workers Union is welcome to try to organize Toyota’s U.S. assembly and component plants, a senior corporate executive said – if the UAW can convince those workers there’d be a benefit to the deal.

Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s North American chief quality officer, reminded reporters after his presentation at the Management Briefing Seminars, in Traverse City, Michigan that the UAW has tried to organize its plants before but has so far been unsuccessful.

“It’s up to the team members,” St. Angelo said, as a top executive of the Japanese company that just shut its only UAW plant in California, its largest U.S. market.

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Earlier in the conference new UAW President Bob King called on all automakers to follow a set of principles aimed at giving workers the freedom to choose a union. King said that his goal was to work as partners with the automakers and promised that if they agreed to work with the UAW, they would become stronger for it. But the new autoworkers chief added that the union would use every resource available to it to fight any automaker that denied workers’ rights.

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Unions Target Weakened Toyota

Washington demonstration planned for Thursday.

by on Jan.27, 2010

Plans to close a California plant building this model, the Matrix, along with recent recalls, will have union members out demonstrating against Toyota on Thursday.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Auto Workers Union are taking aim at Toyota Motor Corp. while it is reeling from the fallout of its decision to suspend sales of eight of its most popular models due to a safety defect.

Teamster president James P. Hoffa and UAW vice president Bob King will lead a delegation of labor representatives, environmental advocates and consumer protection advocates in a protest outside the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

The union leaders also plan to deliver a letter to embassy offiicials for Japanese Minister Yukio Hatoyama.  The letter will express concern that Toyota’s plan to shut a plant in California will ultimately hurt America’s perception of Japan.  It calls on the Japanese government to meet with union representatives and with Toyota management, Teamster and UAW officials said. The facility, known as NUMMI,and located outside San Francisco, has been Toyota’s only unionized plant in the U.S.

“After receiving millions in the taxpayer-funded Cash for Clunkers bailout, Toyota plans to close its New United Motors Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) assembly plant in Fremont, CA, which will mean a loss of 5,400 direct jobs and up to 50,000 jobs at suppliers and other supporting businesses. This would be the biggest factory layoff in California since the beginning of the recession,” union officials said in a statement.

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Environmental advocates at the event will express their disappointment that Toyota, a company that markets itself as a leader in emissions reduction, will greatly expand its carbon footprint by shipping vehicles once made at NUMMI back to the U.S. from Japanese plants.

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