More than 6,000 Toyota workers in Ontario rally to unionize

Certification vote slated for early 2014

A union drive at Toyota’s plants in Woodstock and Cambridge, Ont., is gaining traction.

Last weekend, more than 6,000 workers at the Toyota plants rallied in Kitchener, Ont., as part of a major push towards certification, led by Unifor. The rally was also put together by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“We’ve heard loud and clear that Toyota workers need a voice on the shop floor. As part of Unifor, they will have that voice,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s president. “But workers are not just joining a union — they would be becoming part of a movement that works for fairness at Toyota, in other workplaces across the country, and for all workers in Canada.”

While there have been plenty of attempts to unionize at Toyota’s plants in recent years, this time around, about 3,000 workers have reportedly signed union cards.

Paul Moist, national president of CUPE, said a union can help to ensure good employment conditions, especially after the hit the auto industry has taken.

“There is an undeniable connection between the drop in private sector union density and three decades of stagnant wages in Canada. Good wages and good jobs are the engines of local economies and we need to protect them,” Moist said. “Collective bargaining is the best tool to achieve this, and to ensure fairness for workers.”

A union vote at Toyota is slated for first quarter this year.

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