Tag Archive for: Toyota

TROY, Mo. – Workers at a critical Toyota plant in Troy, Missouri have launched their public campaign to join the UAW after more than 30% signed union authorization cards. It is the first Toyota plant and the fourth non-union plant nationwide where workers have gone public with their campaign to win their union.

In a new video, “We Keep Toyota Running,” workers at the plant — which makes the cylinder heads for every Toyota engine made in North America — describe the toll of the work on their bodies.

The video announcing the campaign can be accessed here, and the media is invited to use the footage. More information on the campaign is available at uaw.org/toyota-tmmmo.

Dawn Ellis, a worker featured in the video, tore her rotator cuff on the job, a common injury at the plant. She had surgery on a Friday and, in a common practice at the plant, was ordered to report to work the following Monday. In a separate injury, Ellis suffered a fractured skull and has struggled with migraine headaches ever since.

“The plant is not safe,” said Jaye Hochuli, a team leader at the plant. “They had me crawl under a deck to clean out the sand and silica dust and chemicals that come out of the machines. It was a confined space. I should’ve been in a respirator and a hazmat suit. All they gave me was a KN-95 mask. I came home and that dust was in my hair, on my clothes, in my underwear. How can the richest car company in the world not follow basic safety practices? We’re organizing to fix what’s wrong and win the protection we need.”

Wages at the plant are far below the rate that UAW members make in equivalent Big Three facilities. Even after Toyota increased pay in response to last year’s record UAW contracts – the “UAW Bump” — production workers in Troy make over $4 an hour less than their UAW counterparts.

“Seeing the new contracts with the Big Three, that’s when I realized we needed a union,” said Charles Lashley, a team member in support. “It was incredible that UAW members could bargain for those benefits and that pay. I don’t see why we should be paid differently. Toyota makes more money than all the Big Three. So, there’s no reason why we should be so far behind. The company can’t run without us. We should get paid like it. We can by organizing our union.”

“When I was hired two and a half years ago, I came in with 24 people. I’m the last one left,” said Jessica Clay a team member in die changes. “The overtime we worked was too much. Overtime now isn’t the problem it was, but there’s still no sick time. We still have to use PTO [paid time off] during shutdowns. I came from Ford; I came from UAW. The union was a better fit for your life. In our union, we have more control. We have a better life.”

“The company has a slogan they like to use: One Toyota,” said Jarred Wehde, a production team member. “We’ve got the Toyota sign out front, just like they do in Kentucky and Indiana. But our pay is nowhere near what theirs is. We know what the company makes. We know they can afford to pay us. By organizing our union, we can win our fair share.”

The announcement marks the latest major breakthrough in the national movement of non-union autoworkers organizing to join the UAW in the wake of the historic Stand Up Strike victory at the Big Three auto companies. Over 10,000 non-union autoworkers have signed union cards in recent months, with public campaigns launched at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Mercedes in Vance, Alabama, and Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama, while workers at over two dozen other facilities continue to organize.

For more information, visit uaw.org/join.

Over 10,000 autoworkers across 13 non-union companies have signed union cards with the UAW, as momentum builds across the auto industry for better wages, benefits, and rights on the job. The major milestone comes less than 90 days after UAW members ratified record contracts at the Big Three. 

“Our Stand Up movement has caught fire among America’s autoworkers, far beyond the Big Three,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “These workers are standing up for themselves, for their families, and for their communities, and our union will have their back every step of the way.” 

In the wake of the UAW’s historic Stand Up Strike victory at the Big Three automakers (Ford, GM, Stellantis), thousands of non-union autoworkers began organizing their own unions with the UAW across the entire non-union auto industry.  

In just two months, workers at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tenn., and at Mercedes in Vance, Ala., have gone public with their campaigns, nearing a majority of workers signed up at both plants. Workers at more than two dozen other facilities have begun organizing in the thousands, inspired by the Big Three victory and the non-union autoworkers’ public announcements. 

For more information on the non-union autoworkers’ organizing efforts at Volkswagen, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, Volvo, Tesla, Nissan, BMW, Subaru, Mazda, Rivian, Lucid, and Hyundai, visit UAW.org/join

Today, 33 U.S. Senators are calling on 13 non-union auto companies to refrain from union-busting as over 150,000 autoworkers have launched campaigns to organize with the UAW. In a letter sent to the CEOs of the automakers, the Senators, led by Senators Peters, Stabenow, Padilla, Butler, and Brown stressed the importance of respecting workers’ right to form a union, and encouraged the companies to commit to neutrality in any organizing effort.

“Your commitment to neutrality would ensure that management does not pressure workers into voting against unionization or delaying the election process,” the Senators’ letter states. “We believe a neutrality agreement is the bare minimum standard manufacturers should meet in respecting workers’ rights, especially as companies receive and benefit from federal funds related to the electric vehicle transition.”

The letter also addresses reports of illegal actions taken by a number of the companies. In recent weeks, the UAW has filed unfair labor practice charges at the National Labor Relations Board against Honda, Hyundai, and Volkswagen for engaging in various illegal union-busting tactics in an attempt to intimidate and dissuade workers from voting to unionize.

“These retaliatory actions are hostile to workers’ rights and must not be repeated if further organizing efforts are made by these companies’ workers,” the letter continues. “We therefore urge you all to commit to implementation of a neutrality agreement at your manufacturing plants.”

“Every autoworker in this country deserves their fair share of the auto industry’s record profits, whether at the Big Three or the Non-Union Thirteen,” UAW President Shawn Fain said. “We applaud these U.S. Senators for standing with workers who are standing up for economic justice on the job. It’s time for the auto companies to stop breaking the law and take their boot off the neck of the American autoworker, whether they’re at Volkswagen, Toyota, Tesla, or any other corporation doing business in this country.”

The campaign comes on the heels of the UAW winning record contracts at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis in October 2023, after the six-week Stand Up Strike that captivated the labor movement and led non-union automakers to raise wages in anticipation of fending off potential organizing at their facilities.

More information on the organizing drive can be found at UAW.org/join.

UAW President Shawn Fain addressed non-union autoworkers via Facebook Live on Monday, December 11. The livestream can be viewed on the UAW’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

During the broadcast, Fain gave updates on the union’s historic organizing drive, detailing how thousands of workers at non-union automakers have been reaching out to the UAW and organizing with their coworkers.

“Right now, thousands of workers at thirteen auto companies are fighting for a better life with the UAW,” Fain said during the livestream. “Workers at Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Volvo, Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid are ready to Stand Up. From California to South Carolina. From Illinois to Alabama. These workers are making history, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Fain highlighted the organizing drive at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where a thousand workers had already signed union authorization cards in less than a week, with hundreds more signing up over the last few days. “Volkswagen workers are on fire and are inspiring workers all across the country,” Fain said. Workers at the Volkswagen facility were the first to go public with their efforts to join the union.

President Fain also announced that the UAW had filed three unfair labor practice charges this morning against Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen for engaging in union-busting activity.

“Like corporations everywhere, no matter what they tell you, these companies are more than willing to break the law if it means protecting their bottom line from you,” Fain said. “They’ll lie, cheat, and steal. Intimidate, surveil, and coerce. And then out of the other side of their mouth, they’ll tell you we’re family.”

Fain ended the livestream with a clear message: the UAW will do everything in its power to support non-union autoworkers’ efforts to unionize, but ultimately, the workers will be the ones who will need to make it happen. “These workers won’t win because a lawyer filed paperwork,” he said. “They won’t win just because someone handed them a union card. They won’t win because of the UAW leadership or Shawn Fain. The workers at Honda, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Mercedes, and Toyota and all these non-union auto companies will win because they’re ready to Stand Up and fight for what they deserve.

“We’re asking you to reach out to anyone you know who may work at a non-union auto plant or might know someone who does. And we’re asking you to step up and organize your own workplace. Nothing else can fix our broken economy like a bigger, better, and bolder union movement. And no one’s going to do it but you.”