• Mar 14th 2007 at 3:28PM
  • 51
Call it a case of "He said, he said." A Toyota spokesman says the Japanese automaker doesn't see an interest in unionizing among workers at its production facility in Kentucky, while UAW spokespeople say workers are showing more interest than ever in forming a union. So which is it? Could be a bit of both. UAW membership has been dropping nationwide, but the organization still has an undeniably powerful place in the industry. With more foreign automakers building plants in the States, particularly in the South, the UAW has failed to gain a foothold in these facilities.

The Detroit News is quoting Toyota spokesman Rick Hesterberg as saying the carmaker sees no evidence of increased UAW interest among its Georgetown, Kentucky plant workforce. But the News also offers statements by UAW president Ron Gettelfinger and the union's head of organizing efforts, Terry Thurman, that contradict Toyota's position. They say there is "increased activity" ever since workers found out about a proposal to lower some workers' wages to cut costs. They admit that Toyota workers' wages are close to UAW rates, but say the difference is in how volatile wages can be at a non-union plant.

Though the UAW's power has been waning, the slow resurrection of profits at General Motors will give it more bargaining power at the table this year. If a union ever were established at a Japanese-owned production facility in the U.S., that precedent would also create the opportunity for a resurgence in the UAW's popularity among hourly auto workers.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Just what we need is to drive Toyota and the other companies out of the US. Bring on the union goons and let them destroy some more companies like they have every one they have touched. GM, Ford, Dodge all build cars in mexico and canada to esccape the union idiots, if toyota and the others leave, there is a good shot to the economy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #1 STAY AWAY FROM AMERICA if your here GO HOME>
      • 8 Years Ago
      #25 - are you kidding me? You're a UAW president and you can't put a semi-grammatically correct comment together? If this is how you represent yourself, how do you represent others?

      Please tell me this is a joke . . . .

      • 8 Years Ago
      I work at Toyota so let me tell you the exact truth. The infamous stolen document mentions that Toyota must slow the growth of its labor costs. In other words there will likely be smaller raises in the future. There is absolutely no mention of pay cuts. The UAW supporters lied about and exaggerated the info in the stolen document in an effort to get more cards signed. Some team members signed cards based on the UAW's lies. If the UAW thinks they have so much support then why don't they call for an election? Because they would lose - thats why! The only people here who support the UAW are the ones with attendance, work ethic and/or behaviorial problems.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #33 (autoworker): "No ones job is safe... your job will be the next to be sourced to a 3rd world country... Organized labor are the front lines in this battle to hold on to our standard of living. Once Labour is allowed to be destroyed... you... will be next to be led to the slaughter! ... Support Labour or become slaves."

      Clichéd UAW Fear Tactic: Work for us, or lose your job! What you neglected to disclose, is that the UAW has been sucking the lifeblood out of the Big 2.5 for decades. Earning $67 an hour [1] in wages and benefits, or taking $100K [2] severance packages for just 1 year of service. This fleecing of the domestic auto industry is nothing less than financial sabotage, draining away funds needed to develop new products for the domestics to remain competitive. And when American competitiveness is thus strangled by a parasitic union, market share goes down, leading to less production, and a subsequent loss of jobs.

      That's right. The UAW is so shortsighted in its greed, that it fails to see it is responsible for the deterioration in the American auto industry, and the loss of jobs that is currently going on. Feel free to keep living in your delusional world, one in which the UAW is defending America from the forces of evil. But the rest of us know better: UAW is the disease, not the cure.

      [1] http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/23/business/23auto.html?ex=1300770000&en=57ea081b0a798618&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
      [2] http://www.autoblog.com/2007/02/27/breaking-chrysler-group-reveals-details-on-union-worker-buyouts/
      • 8 Years Ago
      I surely hope a union can be formed in the kentucky plant. Then we will see how many cars toyota will build in america.
        • 6 Years Ago
        sure....... the union mopes can cause another manufacturing plant will shutter in the U.S. !! The UAW has done a fine job at GM, Chrysler (who) and Ford plants...... He's a clue to the clueless...... people will still buy toyotas no matter where they're built , while union mopes eat dirt and cry a river cuz they don't have a job - can't wait! Hey here's an idea maybe obama will put the UAW in charge of all auto manufacturing in the U.S. using the old soviet socialist plan - that was a winner!
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Look at how successful they've been at GM, which now builds the best cars and trucks in the world."

      Is it April 1st already?
      • 8 Years Ago
      ahahahaha. Toyota were the idiots shooting their mouths off about controlling and reducing labor costs...

      They invited the increased interest themselves.. The UAW has been after them from day 1.. They just made it easy for them now.

      YAY getting more american everyday, while barely making 50% of the cars they sell here domestically :tardski:
      • 8 Years Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      You know, who knows? Perhaps the UAW could stop or at least slow toyota's quality freefall. Look at how successful they've been at GM, which now builds the best cars and trucks in the world.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If Toyota shut down the factory because it became unionized it would a PR disaster for them. They have those commercials were they wave the flag and have many people beleiving (many here on Autoblog) that Toyota provides "more American jobs than GM or Ford". By closing the plant it would show that if the going got tough Toyota would pack up and head right back to Japan. If the pant is unionized big deal, Toyota already has unionized plants in Japan and the joint GM NUMMI plant in California. If Toyota is the "god" of a company many seem to feel they are they will work with it and find a way to be successful. I feel it wouldn't have a big impact on Toyota since it would be one of two plant unionized in the U.S. and they import about half the volume of cars they sell here anyway.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So in other words, non union-ized companies can terminate whoever they want whenever they want the the employee is screwed. Whereas if they had a union they could get some back up...I am with autoworker on this...my parents would be out of a job if it wasn't for the UAW.
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