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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.


UAW Taking Aim at Toyota

New union chief sets organizing import leader as top priority.

by on Jun.18, 2010

As he takes over from Ron Gettelfinger (l), new UAW head King turns up the heat on Toyota.

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.”

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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.