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Loss of Toyota jobs ignites demonstration

September 18, 2009 8:24:35 PM PDT
The loss of two dozen jobs ignites a demonstration outside a North Hollywood Toyota Dealership on Friday. Hundreds of janitors turned out to protest the layoffs. It was a protest for jobs, a precious resource in this tough economy. Janitors are outraged after many of them were laid off from their jobs providing janitorial service for Toyota's National Sales and Marketing Headquarters in Torrance.

"I think it's really unfair," said laid-off janitor Josefina Galindo.

Toyota officials said the North Hollywood Toyota dealership has nothing to do with the issue.

"Union members have chosen to demonstrated at Toyota's facility even though Toyota has no direct involvement in the dispute and does not employ these individuals. They are employed by GCA. GCA services is a janitorial contractor of Roy Jergenson Associates, which provides janitorial service for Toyota," Toyota officials said in a statement.

Roy Jorgensen Associates said in a statement that the layoffs were due to service reductions.

"GCA Services complied with all of the rules of the collective bargaining agreement and followed the seniority list when deciding who should remain," the statement said.

The janitors are part of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents thousands of service workers.

Several months ago, Toyota decided to make moves to liquidate its stake in the Nummi manufacturing plant in Northern California. Toyota officials said they made the tough decision after GM decided it could no longer be a partner in the project to make cars like the Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Carolla and more.

The plant employs 4,600 people. Toyota says the plant is expected to shut down early next year, which is another point of contention for demonstrators.

Sales reps at the North Hollywood Toyota dealership say it was tough doing business on Friday with protestors walking up and down the sidewalk. They say outside of that, at least protestors were peaceful and did not stay for more than an hour or so.

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