Toyota President Tetsuo Agata to BCTD President Ayers

Toyota President Tetsuo Agata has sent a letter to the President of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO expressing his gratitude for the work the Building Trades unions have done in erecting each of Toyota’s U.S. automotive plants over the course of the last 25 years. Agata highlights the value of Project Labor Agreements and the quality and efficiency of the union work that Toyota has witnessed. Full text below…

Dear President Ayers:

As you know, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking for Toyota’s first North American vehicle assembly plant, located in Georgetown, Kentucky. In light of this milestone, I wanted to take a moment to thank the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO for its contribution to Toyota’s success in North America. We are extremely proud of the fact that, to this day, representatives from all manner of industries from around the world come to our Georgetown plant to learn how the time-tested experience of Toyota combines with Kentucky ingenuity at this state-of-the-art facility. And for that, we owe a special debt of gratitude to the skilled men and women of America’s Building Trades Unions, who constructed not only the Georgetown facility, but each and every one of our assembly plants in the U.S. and Canada.

Our production system has been consistently recognized as a model for the automobile industry, and we’re quite proud of how it helps us to make some of the finest automobiles in the world. And for 25 years now, we have been equally proud to have the skills, expertise and productivity of your members deployed on our behalf.

Large-scale construction projects pose unique challenges for corporations such as ours that maintain the highest standards of safety, efficiency and productivity. To address these challenges, Toyota has consistently employed Project Labor Agreements for our major construction projects, and we could not have been more pleased with the results.

To date, approximately 45 million man-hours have been invested in the construction of nine automobile, truck and component plants in the United States and Canada, with another vehicle assembly plant currently under construction in Mississippi. In each and every instance, those projects were completed “on time and on budget,” and with an exemplary safety record. And the Mississippi project is proving to be just as admirable. As we approach this 25 year milestone, I can say without equivocation that project labor agreements, combined with the pride, performance and professionalism of America’s Building Trades Unions have proven to be a valuable tool to meet Toyota’s economical and efficient construction process.

Toyota’s global market success is attributable to a never-ending pursuit of quality and continuous improvement. And over the course of 25 years we have found that America’s Building Trades Unions share that same commitment to overall excellence.

Thank you, and your members, for your support over the past quarter-century. We look forward to continuing our relationship and to our continued mutual success.

Tetsuo Agata
President, Toyota

Did you know Jelly Belly’s, Peeps and Jelly Beans are union-made?

When you’re searching for something for an Easter basket, why not buy union-made-in-America treats.

Here’s a brief list of choices of candy products made by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM); snack foods by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW); or fruit and nuts from members of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

Hershey Products Necco (New England Confectionery Company)
Hershey Kisses* Sweethearts
Hershey Syrups Mary Jane Peanut Butter Chews
Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar* NECCO Wafers/Necco Wafer Smoothies
Hershey Milk with Almond Bars Sky Bar
Hershey Special Dark Bars Clark Bar
Hershey Nuggets Canada Mints
Rolo Candy Cupboard
Hershey Kissables Thin Mints
Kit Kat Bars NECCO Assorted Junior Wafers
Carmello Bar Clark Junior Laydown Bag
Cadbury Fruit & Nut Bar Mary Jane Laydown Bag
Cadbury Roast Almond Bar Haviland
Cadbury Royal Dark Bar Mallow Cups
Cadbury Dairy Milk Bar Necco Peanut Butter Kisses
Jolly Ranchers
Hershey Symphony Bar with Toffee Ghiradelli Chocolates
All filled & non filled squares
Just Born non pariels
Peeps Chocolate chips
Mike & Ike
Hot Tamales Gimbals Fine Candies
Peanut Chews JellyBeans
Jelly Beans Cherry Hearts
Scotty Dogs
Jelly Belly’s Candy Company
Jelly Bellies – also made in a non-union plants in Chicago/Taiwan Nestle
Chocolate Dutch Mints Nestle Treasures
Chocolate Temptations Laffy Taffy
dimples Kathryn Beich specialty candy
Goelitz Confections Baby Ruth*
Goelitz Gummi Butterfinger*
Pet Rat Pearson’s Nips
Pet Tarantula Famous Old Time Candies (gourmet chocolates)
Sweet Temptations Nestle Crunch  Butterfinger Crisp
Candy Corn
Licorice Pearson’s Candy Co.
Malted Milk Balls Salted Nut Roll
Chocolate Coated Nuts, and Sours Nut Goodie
Sunkist Fruit Gel Slices Mint Patties
Bun Bars
American Licorice
Black & Red Vines Anabelles Candy Company
Strawberry Ropes Boston Baked Beans
Jordon Almonds
Sconza Candies Rocky Road
Jawbreakers U-Nos
Chocolate Covered Cherries Look
Chocolate Big Hunk
Kraft Yogurt Nuts & Fruit
snack products
Frito-Lay Chips Deluxe
Doritos Pecan Sandies
Rold Gold Cheez-it
Lays Potato Chips Vanilla Wafers
Nabisco Bachman
Corn Nuts Pretzels
Chips Ahoy! Jax Cheese Curls
Oreos Keystone Snacks Party Mix
Nutter Butter Cheese Curls
Vanilla Wafers Corn Chips
Graham Crackers
Orville Redenbacher

Fruit & Nuts

Members of the United Farm Workers (UFW) help produce various fruits and nuts with the UFW label, including products from: Coastal Berry Co., Swanton Berry, Montpelier Almonds, Brown Date Gardent Dates, Mann’s California Apples, and cirtus fruit from Sunkist, Sunworld, Airdrome and Big Jim.

*Some products made in Mexico; check the label for country of origin.

Supporting Public Workers is Common Sense

Americans oppose taking away public employee collective bargaining rights by a margin of two to one, according to a March 1 New York Times/CBS poll. The same poll indicates that a margin of 56 percent to 37 percent of those polled also oppose cutting public sector employee wages and benefits to reduce state budget deficits. Furthermore, asked how they would choose to reduce their state’s deficits, “those polled preferred tax increases over benefit cuts for state workers by nearly two to one,” according to the New York Times. These figures may surprise some, especially when so many media fail to explore the roots of these issues. I think what we have here is another example of what rarely is appreciated: common sense.


Get organized

Prior to becoming a Supreme Court justice, Lewis Powell wrote a memorandum to a beleaguered business community in 1971.

“Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power only available through united action and internal organization.”

Powell was advising the business community to get organized in order to achieve its goals.

In fact, large portions of the business community have gotten organized over the last 40 years, and one of their primary goals has been to weaken the influence of organized labor. The anti-union “industry” in the United States is a multi-billion dollar business annually. According to American Rights at Work, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce alone spends $50 million per year on anti-union/anti-worker activity.

So, the recent poll results showing wide support for workers’ right to be in unions and bargain collectively is very encouraging data. It shows that Americans can see what is really going on: that the promise of “trickle-down” economics has not worked. Common sense shows it is impossible for government to provide for the needs of the community when tens of millions of well-paying jobs have disappeared from the American landscape. Those well-paying jobs fueled government in the form of corporate, property and wage taxes.

Organizing health care

Let me take this concept of organization a step further.

Tens of thousands of us go to work every day here at Kaiser Permanente in an extraordinarily organized environment. The health care delivery system here is the most organized in the nation, a model of fully integrated care based on preventive medicine. Further, almost all of the employees who work in this system are organized into unions.

Since common sense dictates nothing significant can be accomplished without organization, we should internalize the advantage we have as we go to work every day and as we think about how we can extend our influence on a truly beleaguered health care system and a truly beleaguered working and middle class in our nation.

Wherever I go to tell our story, people’s reaction is jaw-dropping. Our system, our patient-centered outcomes of excellence, our great conditions of employment, and our right to organize without opposition and our employment and income security agreement are not the norm outside of KP.

Common sense

I find great synergy in today’s polls and in our system of work and care delivery. We are living in a time when, given the opportunity, people can envision what makes sense.

There is a deep relationship between the right to collectively bargain and to figure out what is best for the greater good. Public employees understand the complexity of budgets. Health care workers understand the complexity and expense of care delivery. I suggest private sector manufacturing, construction, service and transportation workers also understand that their products must be high quality, affordable and competitive. And they desperately want to contribute to producing high-quality products and services for themselves and for the greater good.

But unless workers are organized they will not, as Lewis Powell advised the business community, be able to “engage in long-term planning over an indefinite period of years.”

Let’s truly celebrate today’s polls, which show that the American people are in full support of the common sense of organization by the people who work every day for the common good.

Don’t Buy!

UNITEHERE! members at Marriott are on Strike in Boston, Hawaii, and San Francisco.

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