Union ignorance of Toyota


Toyota considers West Michigan plant; UAW not pleased — WWMT – Digital Channel 3

You'd think a new auto plant in Michigan, any plant, would be cause of celebration. Not for this UAW member.

The article says one reason the Japanese auto giant is considering West Michigan is because of a lack of influence from the United Auto Workers' Union. At a solidarity march outside the Detroit Auto Show Sunday, union member Stacey Kemp called that a slap in the face.

“If they do that, between, in 10 to 20 years – maybe I'm being a little over reactionary about that – but we're going to end up being a third-world country. That's the way I feel about it. We need decent jobs and decent benefits to raise our families.”

Battle Creek's City Manager tells News 3 he's hopeful. Wayne Wiley believes a move to the area by Toyota would drive up wages by increasing competition for skilled workers.

Thankfully, the article gave that balancing perspective from the city manager. Toyota pays it's employees in Kentucky and other non-union plants basically the same wages as UAW wages. These are not “third world” paying jobs. Toyota has been able to keep the union out, partly because of the good wages.

It will be interesting to see if Toyota can avoid the union in Michigan. Based on some othe news today, from India (thanks Jamie), it seems that Toyota doesn't want to play with the unions (see this article from November) and will probably avoid Michigan if they think the plant will go UAW.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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