Making Toyota’s contract workers full time employees will be a priority for Unifor when it unionizes the automaker, said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

Unifor has heard directly from Toyota workers that the status of contract workers is a priority for many at the automaker.

“We see the importance of making temporary workers full time and that is our priority in bargaining,” Dias said.

He also cited how Unifor won full time work for temporary employees at CAMI Assembly in Ingersoll, a Unifor plant, during recent contract talks.

“It is a question of workplace fairness, our victory at CAMI . . . sends a message to future workers at Toyota there is a better way to do things.”

Contract workers have, perhaps, the most to gain from joining Unifor, added Darryl Watkins contract worker in Cambridge.

The top priority for contract workers is being made full time, as they don’t have the benefits and vacation entitlement of full time, and respect on the job, he said.

“A lot of contract workers are scared if we get a union Toyota will slash their jobs. There is nothing to be afraid of, they will still need to build cars after the union is here,” said Watkins.

“All workers will gain from Unifor, but if we can make contract full time that is the biggest issue in the plant right now.”

Unifor Economist Jim Stanford believes a pay grid for all workers would also help those now working on contract.

“One of the major issues in bargaining a first contract is a pay grid, that is what pay will start at, when raises come and when you will earn full pay. . . . . we would look at the experience you have with contract workers and what we have done at other plants such as CAMI.”