Lee Sperduti won’t be surprised if, suddenly, Toyota group leaders and managers are interested in the viewpoint of Toyota team members. Or, for that matter, if right-wing politicians and business groups speak out against unions.

As the Unifor organizing drive at Toyota heads into the home stretch, expect the company and outside groups to attack unions, he said.

“I remember they had group leaders hold communication meetings with team members for five minutes before the start of every shift,” said Sperduti of when the International Association of Machinists tried to organize Toyota in 2008.

Those meetings also saw information handed out about plant closings and job losses at unionized workplaces.

“There were stories about conflict in unionized workplaces and they would say ‘we don’t need this in our workplace,’ ” said Sperduti.

Similar meetings are being held today. Management has had that chance for years and things have only gotten worse. It’s time to give team members a real mechanism for change through collective bargaining.

Jerry Dias, Unifor president, believes there may also be “significant outside intervention,” as the vote looms. He anticipates that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, as well as other right-wing business lobby groups and perhaps politicians, will fill the media with anti-union rhetoric.

“These are the same groups that disagree Toyota workers should be making $34 an hour, they want workers to listen to those who would have them make half of what they earn today.”