stephenStephen has been at Toyota for 11 years, being full time for 10 years. He works in Lexus Assembly, on the Final Line. Stephen is 34 years old and lives in Cambridge.

“We would not enjoy the compensation and benefits that we do at Toyota, without our unionized counterparts at GM, Ford and Chrysler negotiating these things for us. It’s time to realize that we must either protect the good things that we have through a collective agreement – or gradually kiss them goodbye. We can’t throw in the towel on our future.”

Hogue wants Contract Team Members to experience the benefits of Toyota’s prosperity. “There is no need for people to be spending years in un-credited service limbo, when Toyota is by far the most profitable automaker in the world.”

He adds: “Years ago, when Toyota was much less profitable, full-time status came much more quickly than it does now. When we built fewer cars, before West Plant existed, I served 14 months on contract. Now, the sky is the limit. Does that make sense?”

“We need to be able to protect the quality of the cars we build, because we understand that quality helps to ensure the confidence of our customers. Some processes are exceptionally hard to do within time consistently, according to Standardized Work.”

He thinks that a time study conducted jointly with Unifor-trained representatives would create processes with better quality outcomes. “It’s not just how quickly you do a job; it’s about whether you can honestly perform those checks on each and every car. I want to give our customer a perfect vehicle each time – please allow me the time to do it.”

Ergonomics are of major concern to Hogue. “In order for us to have a chance at holding up for 30-plus years, we need jobs that are designed to minimize unnecessary strain. With Unifor we would have professional ergonomists working with us and helping train Team Members to make the jobs less physically burdensome and more sustainable for our bodies in the longer term.”

He believes sentiment has been shifting over the last year. “When I can, I try to engage people in the union discussion. I like to listen to their opinions and it helps me to understand different perspectives. It is important to remain respectful, even when we disagree on ideas. When I started at TMMC, I didn’t really see a place for a union. People who in the past were indifferent, or even against unionizing – some of us have changed our minds, you could say.”