Georgetown Toyota Plant Calls For Union

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) - Current and former workers at Toyota's Kentucky plant shared stories Sunday about low wages and poor working conditions - rallying points many in the assembly line are hoping will ultimately lead to unionization.

A crowd of about 200 people - many of them workers at the Georgetown plant that produces the Camry - attended the meeting of the Kentucky Workers' Rights Board, a panel of religious and civic leaders pushing for better labor conditions.

Like foreign-owned auto companies across the South, Toyota is nonunion, but the leaders on the board sympathize with the workers and many contend that should change.

"We are people of community, and part of our community has said to us that things are not exactly the way they need to be in the work situation at Toyota," said the Rev. John Rausch, coordinator of peace and justice at the Catholic Diocese in Lexington. "We are not trying to tear Toyota down. We are trying to make it better and have a better partner in community."

Two current employees and two fired ones described what they said were extraordinary steps taken by the company to prevent union organization.

Toyota officials didn't immediately return calls Sunday seeking comment.

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  • by cassy Location: g-town on Jul 23, 2008 at 05:11 PM
    Well if you let a union come in TMMK will just move out,count on it,then you can complain when you are working somewhere else for min.wage,no insurance and no benefits.You people make me sick, I just hope there are enough of us smart people left to KEEP THE UNION OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by J Location: lex on Jul 20, 2007 at 01:59 PM
    I know a lot about Toyota, worked there for years, and while there are concerns that need to be addressed, and some people there in management that are just horrible human beings... a union will not fix that. Before you make up your mind about a union for TMMK you need to understand the difference between Toyota's production methods and other auto makers. The flexibility needed to insure quality, where every member is an inspector can't happen when ther are job classifications that allow some people to stand around doing nothing cause the problem at hand is "not my job" it just will not work with a union. There are probably 5000 hourly tm's out there and having worked there I can tell you the 200 people who want a union are the ones who want to be union stewards so they can get extra money for sitting in the endless flow of grievance meetings, and don't have to work. Let's see union dues are one hours pay per month, so (avg.) $25.00 per hr. x 5000 hourly tm's = $125,000 per mo. x 12 mo. is 1.5 million reasons a year every year why the UAW is trying to get Toyota unionized. I have relatives in Ohio and Mich. who worked for Ford an GM and they have lived thru plant closings where one day you have a job and the next day its gone, and walkouts over crazy stuff like a tampon machines being empty, and strikes that left their bank accounts drained. I no longer work ther but I have lots of friends who do, and for their sake I wish people would get all the facts before they throw the support behind a union.
  • by Barney Location: cyn on Jul 12, 2007 at 02:38 AM
    Unions are for losers. The people pushing for unions are the ones that have been fired because they suck.
  • by Paul Location: Lex on Jun 13, 2007 at 07:17 AM
    200 people out of what 4-5000 employees? I agree with everything being said here about how unions can hurt a business, my grandfather lost his job to a union concession in the 1950's. Father Rausch, i believe your heart is in the right place, but consider the other 3800 people that think that strike /union talk is disruptive, this might not be the "good " fight, you want to fight. Mostly , i blame the media for this one, this is a non story and the hype created by this is in no way reflective of the feelings and thoughts of the majority of the folks at TMMK....Get some real news folks, this is pablum, and is borderline muck raking..
  • by Dave Location: Garden Springs on Jun 12, 2007 at 07:15 PM
    Look for the union label, then RIP IT OUT. Unions suck, ask Ford & G.M.
  • by Blue Collar Location: Lexington on Jun 12, 2007 at 09:20 AM
    I have several friends and family members employed by TMMK and I have visited the plant. I personally think the employees there that are asking for a union have been spoiled with what they have. Maybe they need a reality check with what other blue collar workers wages are and what they put up with... union as well as non-union. Sometimes we should be grateful for what we have rather than jealous of what we want.
  • by Catholic Boy Location: Richmond on Jun 12, 2007 at 05:30 AM
    What the heck is John Rausch getting involved for? Would he rather see all the employees at Toyota still looking for a job and being on welfare and other government subsidized programs. Be thankful they have a job that IS NOT paying minimum wage. Good workers aren't fired; bad workers are. Just because KY is an "at will" state for employment does not mean it is abused. I have worked for several employers and I have seen the good and the bad in employees. The bad ones always scream the loudest. I wish churches would keep their nose out of it. As a Catholic, I am appalled at the fact someone from the Catholic church is getting involved in this. For him to say ###"We are not trying to tear Toyota down. We are trying to make it better and have a better partner in community."## is a ridiculous statement. Toyota is a great part of the community based on the number of employees they have, the wage they pay and their various donations to local charities. I'm disgusted.
  • by Michael Location: Lex on Jun 12, 2007 at 04:15 AM
    Listen guys, I'm 17 years old and I work for Kroger. It is a part time job and each week $5.55 is deducted from my paycheck for union dues. I bag groceries; tell me that I need a union to bag groceries. How ridiculous is that? Unions had a place in our history but are no longer needed. They guy who is called our regional union rep drives a freakin Mercedes!!! I paid for that car. He comes around to shake people's hands in Kroger and I tell him to get lost unless he is thanking me for helping him buy his Mercedes. If you get a union in toyota, all it will do is help the people who don't do a good job to keep their job. I've seen it done at Krogers. Kroger had employees walk out because they were mad and the union got their job back. If I owned a business and my employee walked out, guess what...he ain't gettin his job back. Unions suck your wallet.
  • by Greg Location: Eastern Ky on Jun 11, 2007 at 08:30 PM
    I have worked at TMMK for 13 years union free and happy.Like the majority of peolpe I am willing to fight to keep the UAW out.I'm happy with my 25 dollars an hour plus bonuses(4 per year)and benifits.
  • by Arnold Location: Lexington on Jun 11, 2007 at 06:36 PM
    This thread has some of the most thoughtful comments I've ever read at this website. I'm impressed! Except for "steve/G-Town" ... what in the WORLD are you talking about?
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