cupe-rallyIt was an energetic and solidarity-filled Family Day weekend for many Toyota workers and supporters who attended a rally organized by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Canada’s largest union hosted a rally in Kitchener to support the Toyota workers’ union organizing drive. The rally attracted over 250 supporters from CUPE, Unifor and labour councils from the region.

The rally started off with the welcoming remarks of CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn: “When workers organize, it is better for everyone in the community and the community can thrive,” Hahn said to an enthusiastic crowd. The crowd welcomed the Toyota workers in attendance with a cheerful standing ovation.

“These workers are on a journey to bring dignity and fairness to their workplace…” Paul Moist, the national president of CUPE, addressed the crowd and said his union is doing whatever it can to help the organizing at the Toyota plants. “These workers are on a journey to bring dignity and fairness to their workplace, and I encourage them to keep up the hard work,” said Moist. “Toyota workers will be well served by Unifor representing them in the workplace,” he added.

The Toyota workers who were in attendance spoke and were given a warm welcome by the crowd. They spoke to the fact that while many of them like their jobs, they need union representation and a collective agreement. They added that this would allow them to have a say in workplace issues, such as health and safety, and to prevent unilateral changes by management. One of them highlighted that the majority of the issues brought forward by their campaign team had “nothing to do with money, and everything to do with respect and treatment at work.”

Unifor President Jerry Dias spoke last and brought strong words of support and solidarity to the workers: “Eighty-nine per cent of Toyota plants around the world are unionized,” he said. “If it is good enough for all the Toyota workers around the world, it’s good enough for Toyota workers in North America.” He also issued a strong statement of support for the workers and their organizing efforts: “We will do all that we can to bring a union at Toyota and to bring fairness and justice for working people.”

Dias closed his remarks by calling on everyone in the community to support Toyota workers: “I encourage everyone to talk to the Toyota workers they know and tell them to support the campaign. Call 1-877-495-6551 or email join@unifor.org to get in touch with campaign team!”