Team Members taking part in Unifor’s telephone town hall Sunday afternoon expressed deep concern about Toyota’s decision to move production of the Corolla to Mexico.

“People deserve real answers so they can plan their lives,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said during the town hall.

In a survey conducted during the town hall, 90 per cent of those on the phones said they and their families were very concerned or somewhat concerned about the Corolla’s move to Mexico.

In all, 467 people listened in for at least part of the one-hour event. Joining Dias on the town hall were Unifor Chief Economist Jim Stanford and Unifor Lawyer Anthony Dale.

Another town hall will be held Tuesday evening from 7:30 to 8:20pm, with Dias, Dale and Unifor Research Director Bill Murnighan. Click here for details.

There was much discussion about the need for a strong auto policy in Canada, and Export Development Canada’s recent $525-million loan to Volkswagon to set up shop in Mexico.

“We’d like to see our government doing a stronger job of protecting our jobs here, and then we hear a story like this one,” Stanford said of the EDC loan.

Concerns were also raised about the right of Team Members if there are layoffs at Toyota as a result of its decision to move production to Mexico.

“For non-unionized employees, the protections are very minimal,” Dale said.

In another poll during the town hall, 60 per cent said they do not believe any new vehicle replacing the Corolla would provide as many jobs. Only 17 per cent thought it would, while 13 per cent thought a new vehicle would probably provide as many jobs. The other 10 per cent didn’t know.

Dias pointed out that no layoffs are expected at the General Motors plant in Oshawa, where production of the Camaro moves to the U.S. later this year. Unifor’s contract with GM provides ample early retirement options and ensures an orderly rules-driven process, plus recall rights – something Team Members don’t have.

As well, he said, Unifor will be working directly with GM to bring another vehicle to Oshawa, and will continue to push the federal and provincial governments to establish an auto policy that benefits all workers.

“We need a collective voice to deal with the government,” he said. “Together, we are a lot stronger.”