The Toyota Tundra is one of the most popular pickup truck models in the world made by the Japanese auto giant Toyota.
The Tundra is known and appreciated not just for its size and strength but also for its relative efficiency and for its great reliability overall in the segment.
This article answers “Is The Toyota Tundra Union Made?”…
Is The Toyota Tundra Union-Made?
The Toyota Tundra is manufactured in the USA and none of Toyota’s US-based production facilities are unionized. None of the Tundra units that were produced either at the Indiana plant from 1999 to 2008 or in the Texas plant from 2009 to the present day were made by a unionized workforce.
What Is A Union?
A workers’ union, sometimes referred to as simply a “union” is a form of labor organization in which workers club together and elect representatives to bargain for workers collectively with management.
This is known as collective bargaining.
Workers’ unions have a history dating back to the industrial revolution when unions were formed to create better working conditions and to guarantee workers’ rights in the face of exploitation from unscrupulous employers.
Through the 19th and 20th centuries, unions have helped to shape the industrial landscape around the world, helping to give workers things like the 5-day work week, the weekend, paid leave, maternity leave, and of course higher wages.
Unions work on the principle of collective bargaining and may resort to strike measures should their demands be met with either hostility or intransigence.
When a union goes on strike, they call on all members of the union to lay down their tools and refuse to work until an agreement between union leaders and the relevant management structure can be reached.
Unions in the 21st century are still very large and powerful, with very far-reaching political clout, but membership in unions has been in decline since the 1980s and 1990s as the number of people becoming self-employed entrepreneurs and starting independent businesses has increased.
In the US, the most powerful unions include the various teachers’ unions and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union based in Detroit, Michigan.
What Is UAW?
United Auto Workers, also known as UAW, is a large and powerful workers’ union based in Detroit, Michigan.
To date, it has around 390,000 active members, and about another 600,000 retired members.
It has a longer and more accurate name: United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.
Despite the name, they also represent workers in Canada, too.
UAW has had to evolve significantly since the early 20th century when many unions were, unfortunately, set up not only to protect existing workers’ rights but also to keep out non-white workers from taking the jobs of white people.
From this unfortunate beginning, UAW has grown and developed into a more progressive movement, and did so most notably under the leadership of Walter Reuther in the post-war period from 1946 to 1970.
Does Toyota Have Unions?
Yes, it does. There are multiple unions in Japan for Toyota and other motor workers, very often that club together when they need to take larger action.
The largest single entity and leading Toyota-based labor union among the group is the Toyota Motor Workers’ Union. They have a membership of around 65,000.
The Toyota Motor Workers’ Union typically sends a large delegation of around 3,000 members to its rallies that it holds during the springtime, which is traditionally the time of year in which Japan-based unions hope to negotiate for new terms on various matters, especially workers’ pay.
Are Any Toyotas Currently Union Made?
In the United States, currently, there are no Toyota models that are union-made. It has not always been the case, but currently, there are no union factories for Toyota.
It is often a point of contention for some American buyers, as well as a source of conflict.
Americans appreciate that Toyota invests in American plants, for example, allowing them to buy foreign brands that are still American-made and producing American jobs.
Toyota also wins because they avoid tariffs on their vehicles being sold in the US.
Others, however, are conflicted that Toyota doesn’t allow its workers in the US to participate in union activities, preferring that everyone instead adhere to “the Toyota Way.”
The fact remains, however, that the first and only plant that Toyota has ever had to close was a unionized one.
What Toyotas Were Union-Made In The Past?
In the US, Toyota has only ever been a part of one unionized facility, and that was the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. plant in Fremont California, also known as NUMMI.
From the 1960s to 1982, it had been a GM plant — the Fremont Assembly — and was described as GM’s worst workforce anywhere in the country.
GM and Toyota decided to jointly operate the plant, each hoping to benefit from the other, with GM learning about Toyota’s unique lean manufacturing model and the “Toyota Way.”
Toyota, on the other hand, would gain its first North American production facility that would eliminate the need for tariff payments for cars being manufactured for the North American market, and Toyota would also learn about operating in the US manufacturing landscape.
NUMMI was opened in 1984 and operated until its final closure in 2009.
Over the years it was the production base for many of Toyota’s most popular models, including the Corolla, Hilux, Tacoma and the Voltz.
To date the NUMMI plant remains Toyota’s first and only plant that was unionized.
In fact, Toyota was quite supportive of UAW’s initial demands that the originally laid-off GM workforce be rehired to work in the plant once it was reopened in 1984.
Toyota agreed to allow about 80 percent of the workforce back but insisted on new rules and a new operating method.
UAW resisted at first, but their members needed the jobs so badly that eventually, they agreed.
The result was many Fremont workers and managers were sent to Japan to learn how Toyota plants worked.
The signature Toyota teamwork and quality control cultures were well-received and it wasn’t long until NUMMI was rolling out hundreds of thousands of Toyotas a year.
Eventually, however, Toyota began to open and operate its own independent facilities in other parts of the country, especially in the midwest.
These plants now became the focus and the Fremont plant became increasingly isolated and irrelevant.
Both GM and Toyota ended up pulling out of NUMMI, and parts of the plant were eventually sold to Tesla and are now the site of Tesla’s Fremont facility.
Where Is The Tundra Made?
The Toyota Tundra was initially manufactured in Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana (TMMI) until 2008, but was then relocated to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX) located in San Antonio.
The Indiana plant did not close down.
TMMI is still one of the largest and most productive Toyota facilities in the world, producing the Sequoia, Sienna, Highlander, and the Highlander Hybrid models.
TMMTX produces both the Tundra and the Tacoma models.
How Long Does It Take To Build A Tundra?
According to Toyota, it takes about 24 hours to move from raw materials like raw, coiled steel to a finished, assembled, painted, polished, and working Toyota Tundra.
This is somewhat longer than the average Toyota car production time of 17-18 hours, but the vehicle is much larger, which makes sense.
The Texas facility specializes in Toyota pickup trucks.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Tundra From The Factory?
When ordered from the factory, the delivery time is about 30 days but can take longer depending on circumstances.
With the ongoing chip shortage, things are even harder. Customers are told that it will take between 30 and 60 days to deliver their order.