ToMoCo Union Battle: Truth Finders Vs. Toyota Owners for Fairness

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
tomoco union battle truth finders vs toyota owners for fairness

The Kentucky Herald Leader reports that pro-union forces have formed "Toyota Owners for Fairness," a pressure group aimed at organizing Toyota's U.S. factories. It is, no doubt, a bizarre alliance. "It's a collaboration between the unions, the environmentalists and people of faith," revealed the Rev. John Rausch, group organizer and director of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia. (In case you were wondering about the tree-hugging portion of the program, "The campaign salutes the company for its environmental efforts but challenges it to hear workers' concerns.") Although the article makes no mention of any UAW financial contribution to the union supporters (or what kind of car Revered Rausch drives), the fact that Toyota Owners for Fairness launched their effort to unionize a Kentucky plant at a downtown Detroit church tells you pretty much all you need to know on that score. Meanwhile, workers at Toyota's Georgetown plant have set-up a rival group. "Truth Finders" recently bought a quarter-page ad in the Leader to refute claims of worker exploitation. Chief Truth Finder Marvin Robbins declined to name his financial backers, but insisted that Toyota had not contributed to the cause. Given that Georgetown has been union-free for some 20 years and the UAW's dwindling power within the industry, Rev. Rausch best pray for some divine intervention.

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  • NICKNICK NICKNICK on Dec 27, 2007

    Sherman Lin : My shop does not offer the choice--if you work there, you're in. If there were a choice, things would be a lot better here. The people that are fantastic at their job wouldn't be held back by the seniority rules. Perfect scores on entry exams, college education, good enough to be 1 of 18 out of 34,000...I guarantee you wouldn't last two years in my shop. Frustration at being held back would send you across the border for better pay and more flexibility. When I said "people like me" in regard to being afraid to buy a union-built corolla, i meant people *just* like me (or maybe JUST me). i know that the general public isn't afraid--they eat corollas up like candy. i'm paranoid by nature, and libertarian by persuasion, so union-built autos aren't for me.

  • 50merc 50merc on Dec 27, 2007

    Katie, when you wrote "I like socialism. I like the idea that when one of us falls, there’s a system to help us" you were expressing admiration for two different things. Socialism is an economic system based upon collective or government ownership of the means of production. A "system to help us" refers to the welfare state. Your country's Labour Party combined the two, with nationalization and an array of social insurance/welfare programs. But workers can be brutalized under socialism, as they were under capitalism in Dickens' time. (Consider labor conditions in North Korea.) And a mostly-capitalistic market economy, such as the US, can have "safety nets" for all sorts of unfortunate people (though never enough "safety" to suit the Left, of course). The Detroit 2.8 became unionized because they treated workers badly and there was lots of prosperity to share with labor. They stayed unionized because under the Wagner Act unions got the whip hand and oligopolistic pricing power permitted labor's demands to be passed on to consumers. Now that the 2.8 have lost pricing power, high labor and retiree costs are among the factors that threaten their existence.

  • MPLS MPLS on Dec 28, 2007

    50merc Well spoken, however you forgot to mention dreadfal management in what threatens the 2.8's existence. The people running these companies over the years and the current mangagers are clueless.

  • Bullfrog Bullfrog on Jan 06, 2008

    I have worked at Toyota's Georgetown plant for over 16 years. I can tell you that it is a great place to work. Yes, the work is hard and the hours are long but some team members make nearly $90,000 a year when you add in bonuses and overtime. The UAW has been trying to organize our plant for 20 years. Last year they decided to launch a new organizing tatic by teaming up with the AFL-CIO's Jobs With Justice organization. The JWJ organized a panel of pro-union activists to hear testimony from 4 pro-union current & former workers. Two of the workers who testified had been previously fired for violating Toyota's policies. They accessed a confidential document that was left unsecured on Toyota's computer system. The document ended up in the Detroit Free Press. The document stated that Toyota intended to cut the growth of its labor costs. In other words - smaller pay raises and fewer new hires. It did NOT mention pay cuts for Toyota's team members. The third worker testified that Toyota did not have enough restrooms. When Toyota asked this lady what area of the plant was experiencing a restroom shortage she replied "no comment". So how is Toyota supposed to address a "restroom shortage" if the accuser won't reveal where the problem is? The fourth person to testify VOLUNTARILY quit her job at Toyota 2 years prior to the JWJ campaign. The JWJ campaign was intended to pressure Toyota into allowing the UAW to unionize its team members WITHOUT letting the team members vote. Obviously the JWJ campaign failed. The anti-union group,, exposed the money trail between the UAW and the JWJ panelists. The anti-union folks revealed this info in an ad in the Lexington Herald Leader. The site has links to the ad, Toyota's response to the JWJ and to the other despicable tactics that the UAW has used at Toyota. Check out the threats and insults that the union organizers have used. Father John Rausch was one of the pro-union panelist for the JWJ campaign. He is now leading the Toyota Owners for Fairness campaign which is a broader campaign to pressure Toyota into handing over it's team members to the UAW. Why is the UAW refusing to call for a SECRET BALLOT NLRB ELECTION? Shouldn't they let the team members step into a voting booth and vote on the issue of unionizaton? The issue should be decided by the team members, not the general public.