First, they sold the most amount of cars in the world, then, they started cost cutting and now, Toyota are taking another big step towards becoming GM. The Charleston Daily Mail reports that the managers of Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Buffalo, West Virginia have allowed workers to distribute union literature during breaks at the plant. There’d been grumblings about unionisation for some time. Last month, some Toyota employees, (with the backing of the UAW, naturally), filed a grievance with the National Labour Relations Board’s regional office in Cincinnati. They wanted to distribute union material but were stopped by Toyota managers. Jeff Moore, a Toyota vice president at the West Virginia plant, reversed that policy.
“We want to reiterate that federal law gives you the right to form, join or assist a union; choose representation to bargain with us on your behalf; act together with other employees for your benefit and protection; and choose not to engage in any of these protected activities.” a notice from Moore said.
After the release of this note, the employees were very happy and were vocal about it. Mike Lemaster, a Toyota worker for nearly three years, said, “Toyota now allows you to talk about the union and distribute literature in the group houses. They also decided to let you talk to people out on the line, as long as it does not distract you from work. Before, any union activity was totally illegal in their eyes.”.
Tammy Hamby, a Toyota worker for 11 years, said, “We are thrilled we are now allowed to discuss union organizing with our co-workers. We do not want to disrespect anyone who does not want to talk about it. But we want to get information out there about what is going on.”.
The UAW also had a few choice words to say. Julia Daugherty, a UAW assistant organising director in Detroit, said, “We are very pleased with Toyota’s decision not to interfere with workers’ rights to communicate, recognising they have the right to distribute literature in non-work areas at non-work times. We filed the (NLRB) charge to help them. It looks like Toyota recognised they were wrong.”.
Mr Lemaster further added, ” I am glad the union supported many of our team members. Toyota is a good place to work. We have good pay, vacations and benefits packages.” Enjoy them while you can, Mr Lemaster. I have a funny feeling that the West Virginia plant may come “under review” by Toyota HQ quite soon.