Q: What is the function of the union in the workplace?

The workers are the union in the workplace.

Toyota team members will elect your workplace representatives from among your peers to represent you on workplace issues and at the bargaining table.

As well, Unifor representatives will provide assistance, direction, research and education to team members and workplace representatives.

 

Q: What is a collective agreement?

A collective agreement (or union contract) is a legal agreement between the union and employer covering wages, hours of work, working conditions, benefits, rights of workers and a procedure to be followed in settling workplace disputes.

 

Q: How will our collective bargaining committee and representatives be selected?

Toyota team members will elect them from among their peers, ensuring that all areas and team members are represented.

 

Q: Who votes on our collective agreement?

You, the Toyota team members, will participate in determining bargaining objectives and priorities and any collective agreement negotiated by your bargaining committee must be ratified by a vote of team members.

Only employees covered by the collective agreement have a vote; no one else gets to vote on it.

 

Q: Will we have to go on strike?

While strikes tend to grab media attention, they are very rare and typically a last resort. The decision to strike rests solely with the affected workers and a strike can only be called if: 1) negotiations have broken down; 2) government conciliation efforts have failed; and 3) a majority of workers in the bargaining unit have voted in favour of a strike. That’s why more than 98 percent of all union contracts are negotiated without a dispute.

 

Q: What about union dues?

It is important to know that there are no initiation fees and union dues are not paid until negotiations are finalized and employees have voted to accept a collective agreement. Union dues will be 1.35 percent of regular earnings (excluding overtime and bonuses). So any negotiated wage increases in excess of 1.35 percent will more than cover the cost of union dues for as long as you work at Toyota. Union dues are also tax deductible.

Employers often try to say that unions are like a large business and dues are like profits or like a form of tax. This is false and misleading. In fact, unions are non-profit organizations and all revenues are utilized to provide representation and advocacy services for members. Union dues rates are established and amended only by majority support in local unions and at conventions. In addition, all spending of union funds is overseen by democratically elected representatives in a transparent process.

 

Q: Why is management opposed to employees coming together to form a union at Toyota?

Management likes things the way they are now where employees are divided and can’t collectively challenge unilateral, unfair and unjust decisions. By choosing to form a union and negotiate collectively, management loses some power and employees gain some power creating a more level playing field in the workplace.