Right to organize and the need to organize labor
Manufacturing.Net reports that the UAW President attacked Toyota for expanding operation in non-union Mississippi while closing those in unionized California.
The story brings to light a number of issues. First, in these United States whereby the boundaries are arbitrary to cordon off state governments in separation between states rights and federal governance, some states have laws forbidding organized labor, and others do not.
“Right-to-work laws are statutes enforced in twenty-two U.S. states, mostly in the southern or western U.S., allowed under provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibit agreements between trade unions and employers making membership or payment of union dues or "fees" a condition of employment, either before or after hiring.”
The idea is that if a worker benefits from union representation, they should pay for it in the form of member dues. If there was no enforcement, some workers may not join and pay dues, though may still benefit thereby being unfair.
Some people in some states don’t like the idea of being forced to join, and therein is the reason for “right to work.”
To me, this just shows the potential unfairness in America brought on by states differences in a subject that should be common and shared. As it is, a company like Toyota, or any other, can pick and chose where it wants to conduct business thereby exploiting perceived advantage from not operating where there is organized labor.
Given the history of corporate abuse in America, one has to believe that there is a need for organized labor, to offset the concentration of corporate power and its use of corporate wealth to influence government, for instance.
If UAW President Bob King wants to take on the issue, he’ll have a fight on his hands, but he also might rekindle the labor movement in America as the times are right.
New UAW President Attacks Toyota
By Dan Strumpf and Tom Krisher, AP Business Writers
Manufacturing.Net - June 18, 2010
NEW YORK (AP) -- Toyota's announcement that it will resume construction of a car factory in Mississippi was a much-needed piece of good news for both the state struggling with persistent unemployment and the automaker trying to recover some goodwill after a recall crisis bruised its reputation.
But the decision drew fire from America's largest auto union, which accused Toyota of shifting production from a union plant to a nonunion facility.
Toyota promised to hire 2,000 workers at its nearly complete factory in Blue Springs, Mississippi, and start producing Corolla sedans by the end of next year.
The plant has been on hold since late 2008, when Toyota suspended construction as the economy fell apart and sales of new cars and trucks collapsed in the U.S.
But Toyota's decision to build Corollas there comes just weeks after announcing the sale of a California plant that also built the compact sedans.
To the United Auto Workers Union, the key difference was the California plant was unionized, while the Mississippi plant -- like the rest of Toyota's U.S. factories -- isn't.
The California plant, called New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or NUMMI, was a joint venture with General Motors Co. Toyota closed its doors in April after GM pulled out of the venture under bankruptcy protection last year.
UAW President Bob King pledged to step up efforts to organize nonunion workers at Toyota factories and those run by other foreign automakers in the U.S. King, who was elected to head the union this week, used his acceptance speech on Thursday to accuse Toyota of shifting jobs to a location where it can pay lower, nonunion wages. He also said the move was designed to scare workers at Toyota's other U.S. factories.
"We're going to pound on Toyota until they recognize the First Amendment rights of those workers to come into the UAW," King said at the UAW national convention in Detroit.
King pledged a banner campaign at Toyota dealerships to tell customers that Toyota puts profits before people.”