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Machinists Call Off Toyota Union Vote in Canada

March 20, 2008
Related Topics: Future Workplace, Labor Relations, Policies and Procedures, Latest News
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Organizers have called off their Thursday, March 20, union election at Toyota Motor Corp.’s assembly plant in Cambridge, Ontario, following Toyota’s complaint that the union incorrectly estimated the number of eligible voters.

A statement released Wednesday, March 19, by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union acknowledged that the union did not have enough signed union membership cards to officially call for an election.

Under Canadian law, a union can quickly call for an election after receiving signed cards of support from 40 percent of a workforce. But the machinists union had estimated that the total workforce in Cambridge was 3,100.

The plant makes the Corolla, Matrix and Lexus RX 350.

The statement by machinist organizer Ian Morland said it became clear after Toyota submitted a list of 900 additional employee names that the union did not have enough signed cards.

The same scene played out in 2000 after the Canadian Auto Workers union called for a vote at the Cambridge plant. Ontario authorities ruled after the plant election that the union had not counted eligible workers correctly, and the results of the election were never tabulated.

The union called the situation a “temporary roadblock” and said it would continue the organizing drive.

“We want to make sure the ground for certification is ready and right now it isn’t, so the campaign will continue until it is ready,” Morland said in the statement. “The workers here approached us for union representation and we intend to honor that request.”

No Toyota plant has been unionized in North America since it began assembling cars at a General Motors plant already represented by the UAW in California in 1984.

Filed by Lindsay Chappell of Automotive News, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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