Toyota unionization battle could continue for months: analyst
In the nearly three weeks since Unifor cancelled a planned certification vote for Toyota workers in Cambridge and Woodstock, both sides have been quiet publicly.
But behind the scenes, Canada’s largest union says, the push to unionize the two plants continues.
“Unifor has not backed off from the campaign. In fact, we are ramping up our campaign as indicated and we fully expect to be applying in the near future,” John Aman, Unifor’s director of organizing, tells CTV News.
The vote was called off earlier this month after Toyota filed documents showing it employs 7,500 people between Cambridge and Woodstock – nearly 1,000 more than Unifor believed to be the case.
That jeopardized the chances of Unifor getting the necessary 40 per cent of employees to sign union cards before a vote could take place, and of winning that vote.
As a result, the union said it would focus on signing up more workers before applying again for a vote.
Anthony Faria, a University of Windsor professor specializing in the auto industry, says convincing workers who have thus far refused to sign cards won’t be a simple task.
“These are workers who probably are very satisfied with the way things are right now,” he says.
“It’s going to be an uphill battle the rest of the way for Unifor.”
Faria says pay level, benefits and working conditions at Toyota are similar to those at other Canadian auto plants, whether they’re unionized or not.
“There’s not much more the workers can gain, other than a voice in what’s going on,” he says.
As a result, he says, it could be several months before another vote is held.
Toyota says it asked for Unifor to return a list of employee names and information following the vote, and expressed its concern with Unifor retaining that data to the premier.
Unifor says it has never received such a request from the company or its lawyers.