Making Toyota's contract workers full time employees will be a priority for Unifor when it unionizes the automaker, said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.


Unifor took to the airwaves in a recent telephone town hall call-in to hear directly from Toyota workers on how the union can help, and the status of contract workers was top of mind for some listeners.

"We see the importance of making temporary workers full time and that is our priority in bargaining," Dias said to one caller.

He also cited how Unifor won full time work for temporary employees at Cami Assembly in Ingersoll, a Unifor plant, during recent contract talks.

"It is a question of workplace fairness, our victory at Cami sends a message to future workers at Toyota there is a better way to do things."

Unifor economist Jim Stanford agreed, saying a pay grid for all workers would also help those now working on contract.

"One of the major issues in bargaining a first contract is a pay grid, that is what pay will start at, when (raises) come and when you will earn full pay. . . . . we would look at the experience you have with contract workers and what we have done at other plants such as Cami."

The status of contract workers was one of several issues raised by some of the nearly 600 workers, about 10 per cent of the Toyota workforce, that listened to the call in.

Other issues raised include how in-plant union officials are elected, union dues, gettign time off the job for family, and the "grow in" to earn top salary, to name a few.

"I would say that is a good response," said Angela Lee, project manager for Strategic Communications, the Toronto firm involved in the town hall.

"It's a good indication," of interest, from the callers, she added.