Fairness for Contract Workers

Being hired at Toyota as a contract employee should be a step towards full-time status. But without a union, contract Team Members don’t have a defined path towards full-time work with clear rules and guidelines spelled out in a legally binding Collective Agreement. This is no way to build a life, and this is certainly no way for a large and very profitable international company located in Canada to behave.

Toyota Team Members on contract are not credited time toward their pension until hired on a full-time basis. That means if you’re on contract for two years before becoming full-time, you need to work a total of 32 years before you are eligible for a full or ‘30 and out’ pension. 

Every year of work in an assembly facility takes its toll on your physical health. At workplaces like TMMC, the employer decides whether you are working safely and within ergonomic and time study standards. Experience tells us that your health and safety comes second to Toyota making a profit. These additional years of strenuous work could be the difference between a long and healthy retirement or one lived in pain from a workplace injury.

Unifor auto plants work much more fairly and predictably. Only small numbers of temporary part-time (TPT) workers can be hired at unionised plants and TPTs are limited to students enrolled in accredited post-secondary education institutions. Hiring of temporary part-time workers gives priority to family members of unionised workers. The union also meets with the company weekly through the in-plant committee to review the number of temporary workers scheduled to ensure that full-time employees are adequately scheduled.

This system ensures that, unless a worker is currently a student, every hour of work is counted towards advancement in the wage grid and pension credits. There are also preferential hiring practices in place for temporary workers to move to full-time work. If a TPT is hired full-time and accumulated 760 hours for two consecutive years, they are also credited time into the pension plan.

Contract Toyota Team Members however, do not start advancing in the wage progression grid until they reach full-time status. This means Toyota Team Members always have to work longer than Unifor auto workers to reach the full wage. For example, using a seven year wage grid and a two year contract term, it takes Toyota Team Members nine years to reach their full wage, a full two years more than a Unifor autoworker. The difference in wages in this case is as much as $50,000 or more if the contract term is longer.

All Team Members agree that every hour worked at Toyota should count towards your pension credits and wage progression. The fact is that contract Team Members deserve to and should be treated fairly. By joining Unifor, Toyota Team Members can negotiate the changes that you need and deserve. That includes making the employment status of all contract team members less arbitrary, less subject to changes in probation and contract length, and putting all contract Team Members on a clear path to full-time status.