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Canadian Auto Workers Union Setting Themselves Up For Extinction

This week marks the beginning of serious negotiations between the Canadian Autoworkers Union (CAW) and the domestic* manufacturers Ford, GM, and Chrysler-Fiat. Unlike the UAW, which agreed to a series of concessions during the automotive bail-out, the CAW has been able to maintain roughly the same type of rules that the UAW used to have prior to 2009. Specifically:

  • CAW workers are all paid the same wage; UAW workers are on a two wage tier system where newer workers make less than older workers
  • CAW workers do not have any profit sharing; UAW workers rely upon profit sharing bonuses

These two mechanisms – two tier wages and profit sharing – are essential to the success of the UAW and the automakers they work for. Yet for some reason, the Canadian autoworkers don’t feel that they need to follow the same set of rules that the American autoworkers follow. If the CAW doesn’t concede, the risk is that automakers will simply abandon Canadian production in the next decade or so…and the CAW will cease to exist.

*I say “domestic” only because that’s what these manufacturers are commonly known as. In truth, they build a substantial portion of their vehicles, powertrains, etc. in Mexico.

UAW Recruits Toyota’s Georgetown Workers In Odd Ways

Earlier this week, a Toyota factory worker from Kentucky contacted us to share a link to According to this website’s about page it was created by some current employees at Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, Kentucky (known as TMMK in Toyota circles) who aren’t too happy with UAW efforts to unionize their plant.

Camry being welded at Toyota plant in Kentucky

TMMK currently builds the Camry, Avalon, and Venza

Operating since 1986, TMMK is one of Toyota’s oldest US facilities, as well as Toyota’s largest plant outside Japan. TMMK employs about 6,500 workers and builds 500,000 vehicles each year. Mostly, these vehicles are Camrys, but TMMK also builds the Avalon and the Venza.¬†Arguably, TMMK is Toyota’s most important plant in the United States…which is one of the reasons the UAW has tried to take over the plant for the last 20+ years.