Canadian Manufacturing

Unifor publishes made-for-Toyota charter ahead of union vote

Union said it would push to have all contract workers made full-time employees in bargaining

CAMBRIDGE, Ont.—The union pushing to represent employees at Toyota Motor Corp.’s Canadian plants said it would push to have all contract workers made full-time team members should an organization vote succeed.

In a charter outlining its vision for collective bargaining on behalf of some 6,500 workers at a trio of Toyota plants in Ontario, Unifor said it would fight for workers’ primary concerns, including making those on contract full-time employees.

According to the union, 67 per cent of employees polled from Toyota’s plants in Cambridge, Ont., and Woodstock, Ont., thought making contract workers full-time seniority members should be a primary bargaining issue.

Another 89 per cent of workers polled said contract workers should receive retroactive pension credits for years of service.

Other bargaining points outlined by the union include revised ergonomic and health and safety standards at Toyota’s Canadian operations, and wages and benefits that “reflect industry standards.”

The union did not say what type of benchmark it would use to gauge those standards.

Unifor said it would also negotiate for employer-funded pensions and overtime sharing—the ability for employees to split overtime shifts.

“Unifor is committed to working with Toyota team members to create a made-for-Toyota agreement,” Unifor national president Jerry Dias said in a statement.

“The charter is intended to reflect some of the priorities identified by team members and offer information about what joining Unifor could mean.”

Scheduled to begin next week, the pending union vote comes after Unifor filed an application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to represent the Toyota workers.

Dias said his union is confident the vote will be a success.

If successful, the plants would be the first union shops for Toyota in North America.

The automaker has a number of unionized plants around the world, including a pickup plant in Mexico.

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