Dear State and Local Building Trades Leaders:

On the occasion of the 25-year anniversary of the construction of its first North American manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Kentucky, Toyota Motor Corporation issued a proclamation of praise for both America’s Building Trades Unions and project labor agreements.

In a February 25, 2011 letter to BCTD President Mark H. Ayers, Toyota President Tetsuo Agata remarked 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 [KY] facility, but each and every one of our assembly plants in the U.S. and Canada.”

Mr. Agata went on to say this:

“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 any 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.”

Value on Display…Every Day. It’s good enough for Toyota (and Wal Mart, too!)…so it ought to be good enough for the rest of America.

This is powerful ammunition to have in our arsenal as we confront the radical right-wing attacks on unions in general, and on PLAs and prevailing wages, specifically.

This letter should be required reading for all elected officials. Even better, combine this letter with a formal invitation to visit a JATC facility in your area so that these politicians can gain a more accurate picture of who we are today.

Sincerely and fraternally,

Tom Owens