There are a lot of concerns and frustration being expressed about workload and work strains at Toyota.

Mike Martin, for example, has seen the “icing stations” at Toyota to help ease workers’ strain, and believes the talk on the shop floor of an employee turnover rate of up to 30 per cent.

It’s a sign of serious problems with work standards at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, said the fouryear veteran of Toyota, who now works in the Woodstock paint shop.

The high turnover rate happens for the same reason a cutting-edge assembly plant uses “icing” techniques on workers. There is too much work, at too fast a pace, he said.

“In my department alone 40 per cent are there due to restrictions,” meaning they can’t do their previous jobs.

One of the benefits of joining Unifor is that the union has ergonomic experts who can analyze work systems and work stations and propose practical solutions to resolve or ease underlying problems.

One Unifor official, an expert in work standards, has spoken with Toyota workers and agrees there are problems with work standards.

“If the job was set up right, you should not need to be iced. If the ergonomics of the job are right, you should be able to do the job at a normal place, for your career,” he said.

If the job was set up right, you should not need to be iced. Reports of such high employee turnover at Toyota are “unbelievable,” although that is an anecdotal figure. “You just don’t see that anywhere. I know how to fix that turnover rate, people have to stop hurting.”

At Unifor’s Detroit Three plants, work standards are agreed to with the union, which has ergonomics-trained representatives on site ensuring safety and that there is enough time to do the job.

Kevin Harvey, who has worked at Toyota 25 years, also believes in the high turnover figure, saying he has seen as high as a 50 per cent worker turnover in his body weld area.

“I can’t believe they allow this to happen,” he said of Toyota. “I know they care about profit.”

WorkStandards