Toyota team members and their supporters rallied with a renewed sense of purpose on Friday, celebrating a new phase in the campaign to organize a union in their workplace.
Roughly 100 Toyota team members and Unifor supporters flocked to the Toyota sites in Cambridge and Woodstock to wave flags and circulate a new leaflet about the benefits of a collective agreement.
Rainy weather did not dampen spirits, and supporters huddled under bright red Unifor umbrellas. There was a steady stream of fellow Toyota team members driving home who honked their horns in support of the union drive.
The rallies signify a new energy the campaign, thanks in part to a visit from Unifor’s National President Jerry Dias on Thursday.
“There is nothing stronger than the resolve of workers who have decided to fight for their rights and a secure a bright future—and that is what we have here at Toyota,” said Dias at a press conference to kick off the next phase of the union drive.
After filing more than 3,000 signed cards with the Ontario Labour Relations Board on Monday, the team members learned that they fell just short of the number required after the company released their startlingly high employment numbers.
While Unifor could have chosen to engage in a lengthy legal battle contesting the numbers, team members are more interested in building support and getting more cards signed so a vote can take place sooner and with confidence.
Ken Cleveland, a maintenance team leader at Toyota’s Cambridge facility, spoke at the Thursday press conference and emphasized the growing sense of determination among his fellow team members who want to have a vote.
“With the growing list of workplace issues ranging from pension security to line-speed, I can’t wait to get back to signing more cards. Our concerns aren’t being addressed and it’s time for us to have a say at work. Democracy is clearly coming to Toyota,” said Cleveland.