Toyota is clearly a dynamic cost efficient enterprise, just as they were when they began production way back in 1988. In the years that followed,we sawthe automaker building high quality products, at competitive prices and at standard costs. They matched the wages and benefits negotiated by the workers of the Detroit 3 in an attempt to take away the incentive for Toyota workers to join the union.

Fast forward to 2013, we have since seen a growing gap between the fully waged and benefited worker and what they call “essential for competitive flexibility” contract workers. The question should be asked, who has benefited from the more than $27,000 on wages saved alone in paying new workers less. Full time workers who also receive pension credits vs Toyota underfunding the pension plan with contract workers. This amounts to roughly $21,000 a year more per person, all being expropriated by Toyota from contract workers. We at Unifor argue this money is rightfully
theirs, not to be pocketed by Toyota in surplus profits.

Why contract workers? Is this a probation period? Why for so long? Do they do less work than full time workers? These questions must be asked. Why was it ok for workers to earn parity with the Detroit 3 auto makers in the late 80’s and be competitive, but in 2013 Toyota is taking away over $48000 in wages, pensions and benefits in what is being reported as probably 20% of its work force. That is approximately $6.25 million that rightly belongs to the workers per year. Toyota contract workers are $13 behind a permanent worker – significant in itself. This does not include the pensions and benefits which could provide another $10 per hour for the full time worker.

The workers at Toyota are seeking just what the company has encouraged. Workers want to implement ‘Kaizen’ continuous improvement in their work conditions, benefits and relationship with their employer. By joining Unifor you are making continuous improvements in all these areas. Without a union, the facts don’t lie, conditions and treatment have eroded over the years’.

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