UAW, Teamsters protest Toyota in Washington

January 28, 2010

UAW, Teamsters protest Toyota in Washington

By Justin Hyde
Free Press Washington Staff

The UAW and the Teamsters union protested outside the Japanese Embassy in Washington today calling on Toyota to reverse decisions to close a California plant and hire nonunion carhaulers.

Roughly 100 supporters gathered as UAW Vice President Bob King and Teamsters President James Hoffa delivered a letter for Japan Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama calling for a meeting with Japanese officials and Toyota.

The Japanese automaker announced last year it was closing the plant in Fremont, Calif., after General Motors pulled out of the joint venture under its bankruptcy. The plant is the only Toyota plant organized by the UAW, and has about 4,700 workers.

"It’s betrayal of these loyal workers in Fremont to close the plant and then announce plans to build a new plant in Mississippi," King said.

King and other union officials linked Toyota’s recalls to the management decisions made to close down the California plant, saying both were examples of how Toyota had strayed from its principles.

"It’s a Toyota decision. It’s Toyota engineering that’s creating havoc with consumers in America," King said.

The UAW plans additional protests Friday during the Washington auto show about the California plant closure, saying it will cost the state where Toyota has been most successful 50,000 jobs.

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