The Dark Side Of The Toyota Prius

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by Dennis_TX, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Dennis_TX

    Dennis_TX New Member

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    Hey, nothing is perfect, eh?...

    The Dark Side of the Toyota Prius -- In These Times

    The Dark Side of the Toyota Prius

    By Paul Abowd

    [​IMG] A new report alleges that Toyota, the world's largest auto company, is violating workers' rights at Prius hybrid plants in Japan.

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    The National Labor Committee (NLC), a New York-based human rights group, has been investigating working conditions at Toyota Motor Corp., and the labor used to produce its best-selling Prius hybrid cars.

    In its 65-page report released in June, NLC includes first-hand testimony of factory conditions in “Toyota City,” outside of Nagoya, Japan — less than 200 miles southwest of Tokyo — where the largest auto company in the world employs some 70,000 people.

     
  2. Scrittibear

    Scrittibear Junior Member

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    yikes. yikes. yikes.
     
  3. robbyr2

    robbyr2 New Member

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    The article, or the report, has some problems, such as the worker whose widow got her workers compensation benefits for his death was working on the Camry Hybrid, not the Prius, and 1/3 stock ownership does not constitute control in a military dictatorship. Should Toyota find ways to control the overtime its employees work? Probably, but it happens here too. Should they sell their stock in the company if it has ties to the Burmese military? Probably not. It's not like we don't have companies selling things to the Chinese government that its military uses to control Tibet.

    And in a country that allows exploitation of undocumented workers from Latin America to work in similar conditions (and as young as 12 in the Iowa meatpacking plant recently raided by the ICE), I don't know we have much room to talk. And we certainly seem to hate workers and love to see their wages cut, jobs lost and unions destroyed.
     
  4. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi All,

    Well, has anybody been down south of the border, where Mexican auto-parts and wiring harness plants are ? I have not, but reserve judgement till the whole story is in.

    And of course as robbyr2 points out, many buinesses in the US follow the same practices. Eaten grapes, or other CA based agricultural products lately? Had something painted professionally in Chicagland lately? If so, your partaking of similar labor practices as reported in this article.

    And that is the problem with the article. They aim it at the Prius, yet neglect, seriously, and probably malisiously, the ongoing labor problems of not having a documented alien worker program in the USA. Just because the majority of labor goes into cars in Japan, does not relinquish responsibility of where the majority of labor in the US goes for. Its all labor, not just transportation product labor. Its somewhat hypocritical to claim moral superiority buying a UAW car, then move into a house built and painted by Mexican illegals sleeping 10 people in a 2 bedroom appartment, with no medical, or overtime , that cost 20 times as much as the car.

    Its not right that these things happen. But buisness people get into a situation when government lets the other guy get away with it. Until the governement steps up to the plate on these issues, worker abuse will be ongoing. It only takes a few bad-apple buisnessperson to cause a cascade of an entire industry into these practices. The free market insures this. Which is why it has to be government that addresses the issue.
     
  5. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    Explotive conditions and practices deserve good reporting and proper actions. Too bad this report decided to use the Prius name as the attention getter. I guess the title "The Dark side of the Yaris" would have gotten no attention.
     
  6. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    As consumers, we have the power to pressure corporations to improve their treatment of workers, be it in Bangladesh, Mexico or Japan. It starts with awareness of the issues.

    Once I learned that Nike was employing Korean subcontractors who abused their workers in Vietnam, I joined the campaign to stop it. This was also around the time Tiger Woods became a Nike endorser. So we sent him loads of mails to make him aware of the problem and ask him to help pressure Nike. We don't know whether he did anything about it, but we do know that the abusive treatment in the Vietnam factories are no longer an issue.

    In a similar vein, Toyota's link to the Burmese junta is what disturbs me the most. I wish the story had more details on this relationship, how long it's been going on, who are involved, and so forth.

    Aung San Suu Kyi is a heroine of mine, and I'll do anything I can to help bring about her release so that she can lead her people out of the darkness they've been held under. I hope the Hollywood types, Prius driving or not, after seeing this story will lend a voice to this campaign and engage others to do the same.
     
  7. robbyr2

    robbyr2 New Member

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    As consumers, we have the power to pressure corporations to improve their treatment of workers, be it in Bangladesh, Mexico or Japan. It starts with awareness of the issues.

    I don't mean to say that Toyota should be using its influence to improve conditions in Burma, and it certainly should insure its plants in Japan operate humanely.

    If its subsidiary in Burma is doing regular business with the junta, it needs to consider whether to sell it. Of course, it will probably have to sell it to a member of junta or its supporters so I'm not sure how much good that will do the workers.

    And Toyota's management needs to provide a specific response to the allegations made about conditions in its Japanese plants, and correct any deficiencies. Of course, the workers would not be allowed into Japan if Toyota didn't take their passports and house them in dormitories. That would deprive them of the opportunity to send money to their families.

    I still think that conditions for workers in America- especially the children working in meatpacking plants- who are here illegally gives us little moral superiority in the rest of the world.
     
  8. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    ... Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC), a Toyota subsidiary, has a small interest in a joint venture in the country as a result of a merger with Tomen, a trading company, in 2006. Burma Campaign said the venture involved a state-controlled firm and its vehicles were used by the Burmese military.
    Toyota said the venture did not manufacture or sell Toyota vehicles.
    "In view of the current sitution in Myanmar, we have conveyed our concerns to TTC and asked them to reconsider their business," the spokesperson added...

    BBC NEWS | Business | More firms 'have ties with Burma'
     
  9. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    The following statement was issued by Toyota for use on Open Line. This Toyota Statement for WOSU was sent by Steven Curtis, Investor and Media Relations, Toyota Motor North America, Inc., on July 8, 2008.

    Statement for WOSU

    Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen to all of our stakeholders, including our employees, partners, suppliers and customers. The NLC report contains numerous inaccuracies that present a false and misleading picture of our company. Contrary to the report’s allegations, Toyota respects its employees and honors the basic human rights of the people involved in our business. We comply with all applicable local laws and regulations wherever we operate while providing fair compensation and benefits.

    Consistent with our guiding principles, we provide a safe, healthy working environment for all of our employees. On an ongoing basis, we also strive to ensure that our suppliers and subcontractors adhere to these standards. To be clear, Toyota has zero tolerance for any form of forced or child labor and we will not knowingly work with companies that are engaged in any of these practices.

    Specifically:

    • We conduct regular compliance audits of the working conditions at all of Toyota’s operations. For example, our Prius plant in Japan is one of the most advanced auto manufacturing facilities in the world, employing the most progressive manufacturing and work policies and, of course, the most stringent environmental practices. Toyota’s renowned manufacturing techniques are constantly benchmarked and studied by third parties who have ready access to observe working conditions.
    • We adopted Green Purchasing Guidelines in 1999 and have been regularly distributing them to our suppliers. These guidelines clearly describe our expectations for suppliers to comply with all local, national and international laws and regulations regarding fair working conditions. They also require suppliers to implement Toyota’s philosophy of “respect for people.â€
    • We meet with our suppliers to help ensure compliance with our Guidelines. For example, in February 2008, we held a global supplier meeting with our Tier 1 suppliers to reinforce our purchasing policies, including those pertaining to employees and working conditions.
    • In North America, Toyota is actively engaged in the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), whose mission is to improve the guidelines and productivity within the industry, among other goals. We are also collaborating with AIAG to help develop training materials and workshops for our international suppliers by sharing best practices.

    Among the many inaccuracies in the NLC Report is its characterization of Toyota’s involvement in a guest worker placement program that is managed by an independent agency in partnership with the Japanese government.

    • The fact is that no Toyota company has ever been involved in confiscating guest worker passports and Toyota has no workers subject to a guest worker program.

    The NLC report also paints a false picture of Toyota’s use of temporary workers. Toyota’s use of temporary workers is in line with common auto industry practice. Temporary workers are treated well and compensated fairly. In fact, when permanent positions become available, they are filled by our temporary workforce.

    Finally, the NLC report totally mischaracterizes Toyota’s involvement in Burma. The truth is that Toyota’s involvement in Burma is extremely minimal. Toyota withdrew from Burma in 2000. We sell no vehicles there other than to U.N. entities or foreign embassies.

    WOSU - Should we do more to protect workers here and abroad
     
  10. ldxcrunr

    ldxcrunr New Member

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    there is no darkside as a matter of fact its all dark
     
  11. rfruth

    rfruth Member

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    I agree all smog machines are trouble, the less you use them the better
     
  12. C.RICKEY HIROSE

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    Ludicrous! This article is all anti-Toyota propaganda. Lies.
    I happen to know a few workers from Brazil working at Toyota City plant.
    These Portuguse speaking immigrants scouted from Brazil ( Temporary )
    says, Toyota will go the extra mile in helping them to settle in Japan working for Toyota factory.

    Their living quarters or private apartments are of very high living standards, They have shop marts dedicated to Brazilian immigrants,
    They have schools for these immigrants childrens,They have teachers and they speak in Portuguse to their children and spouses. They even have Portuguse speaking Japanese national to represent the immigrants to address their concerns and questions to Toyota .

    All these Brazilia workers or associates are well paid and have been furnished of all and best amenities for them and family as same as Toyota native employees.
    These immigrants, wants to never leave Toyota city to go back to Brazil
    so I hear.
     
  13. rfruth

    rfruth Member

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  14. RonH

    RonH Member

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    The article is not even internally consistent. If the guest workers make less than half the minimum wage and 60% of the native workers, that implies the native workers are making less than the minimum wage.

    Innumeracy, thy name is journalism.
     
  15. NeoPrius

    NeoPrius Member

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    Seems like these workers can leave if they want to... all they have to do is complain about the working conditions. They are no doubt aware of what they're getting into by way of workers that have returned to their home countries, but find the conditions acceptable for the pay, which is probably much better than what they can get back home. Same as the undocumented Mexicans (etc.) that come here to the US.
     
  16. jammin012

    jammin012 The man behind The Man

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    STOP YOUR WHINNING AND MAKE MORE CARS, THERE'S A WAITING LIST TO FILL!!!!!!!!:crutch::tape2::whip:
     
  17. Rybold

    Rybold globally warmed member

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    I hope Toyota hurries up and fixes this problem, and then it's
    BACK TO WORK !!! Keep pumpin' out the Priuses! :director: :bump2:
     
  18. etyler88

    etyler88 etyler88

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    As great as the Prius is, it is still built by a corporation. Corporations are not human and act for profit, end of story. The main way corporations put on a pretty face and still abuse workers is by using subcontractors and not caring how the subcontractor acts. There needs to be an information box similar to the food nutrition infomation box on retail packaged food. The new information box should provide the buyer with point of purchase info on how the workers and enviroment were treated to create the product. I.E. was a sweatshop involved and did it pollute.
     
  19. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    If the car is purchased from Sith Motors or Empire Toyota then it may be from The Dark Side. AFAIK they stock two colors: Vader Black and Stormtrooper White.
     
  20. subarutoo

    subarutoo New Member

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    Does everybody think Priuses are built by monks living in monasteries with 4 hr yoga breaks? The truth is probably somewhere between hell and nirvanna, as is most of life.
     
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