Workers at Toyota North America just got a significant boost to their wages, with hourly pay rising $2.94 to $34.80 for the top-level employees in manufacturing, logistics, and distribution, while workers with skilled trades positions are getting a $3.70 pay increase to $43.20.
The pay increases are accompanied by a change in wage progression rules at Toyota’s North American facilities, with workers now eligible for top pay in four years rather than the previous eight, Automotive News reports.
The increased wages are the third and by far the largest pay rise at Toyota during 2023. This makes them unusual by standard company policy, since the Japanese automaker usually provides smaller increases twice a year and has never before offered a third wage boost in a single annual period.
The over-9 percent increase comes only a month after Toyota increased hourly pay by 25 cents hourly on September 25th. The new wages will go into effect on January 1st, 2024. All workers will also receive more time off regardless of seniority as another improvement in working conditions at Toyota facilities.
The timing of the pay surge at Toyota, just at the moment when the UAW has forged a tentative agreement with GM and other Detroit Three automakers, may not be a coincidence. The UAW has openly declared that it means to use its success in this autumn’s GM, Ford, and Stellantis as the springboard to further unionization among non-unionized companies like Tesla and Toyota.
Aggressive new UAW president Shawn Fain, fresh from his first victory at the negotiating table, remarked that “when we return to the bargaining table in 2028, it won’t just be with the Big Three. It will be the Big Five or Big Six.”
While economic, political, and business forces will make it difficult for the UAW to conquer fresh territory with unionization of other automakers, analysts believe, its gains may prompt companies to woo their employees with better wages and other perks, exactly as Toyota now appears to be doing.
A Toyota North America executive VP, Chris Reynolds, remained somewhat elusive when Automotive News attempted to pin him down on the topic, simply stating that the company offers “robust compensation packages” to show respect to its workers, and adding that “we continually review to ensure that we remain competitive within the automotive industry.”