UAW To Amp Up Organizing Efforts At Toyota Plants
As Mississippians were celebrating the announcement by Toyota that they would be restarting work at the stalled Blue Springs plant, one group was not too happy with the news and has vowed revenge.
The United Auto Workers, whose member rolls are down from 1.5 million in 1979 to 400,000 today, vowed to aggressively target Toyota for union organizing. “We’re going to pound on Toyota until they recognize the First-Amendment rights of workers to come into the UAW,” UAW President Bob King said. King called on his members to picket outside Toyota dealerships.
Toyota announced that the Blue Springs plant will manufacture Corollas, which had previously been produced at a plant in California Toyota recently dropped out of. It was a joint venture between Toyota and GM, and the workers were represented by the UAW.
The UAW, which dominates the Detroit-domestic automobile scene, has never been able to get a foot in the door of foreign transplants such as Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, etc. Going back to 1989, the UAW has either lost every unionizing vote or dropped out as support waned. And to be honest, it is hard to see how they would be successful in Tupelo (just as they have been unsuccessful in Jackson and throughout the South). The question is: what does the UAW offer? Anybody can take a look at Detroit and see the problems they have been having long before the recession, while foreign transplants have been busy building new plants in South.
Needless to say, if Toyota thought the North Mississippi plant had a good chance of being unionized they would have opted for some other location.