Two former hourly Toyota employees are denying that they leaked a potentially embarrassing memo pertaining to wages at Toyota's US plants. The document, which came from Seiichi Sudo, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc, states that wages are growing faster than Toyota's US profits.

The former Georgetown plant workers, Noel Riddell and Manuel Eade, were fired on February 8 after being accused of circulating the memo. The two workers were suspected, in part because they had shown the memo to management, and both admit to being union supporters. The workers were asked to resign from Toyota, but both refused, instead opting for a peer review of their case. They say that their peers found them to be innocent, but management overruled and fired them anyway. The memo is now being used as a rallying cry for the UAW, which has been hurt by years of declining membership. The memo, which was dated 2006, calls for $300 million in wage cuts in fiscal year 2011, and UAW officials (and most likely some of Toyota's hourly workers) think that means there will be more temporary workers in Toyota's plants, and less full-time hourly workers making $25 per hour.

The UAW has long wanted to unionize non-domestic plants, but to this point there has been little luck. We don't know if this memo will help unionize any Toyota plants, but it will be interesting to see if Toyota continues to expand plants in the US if a worker's union comes as part of the package.

[Source: Automotive News (Sub. Req'd)]

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