Unifor, the Canadian auto workers union, says it has received membership card signatures from nearly half of Toyota’s Canadian manufacturing workers.

The Windsor Star reports almost 3,200 of the 6,500 people Toyota employs at its Woodstock and Cambridge, ON, assembly plants have handed in signatures. Obtaining signatures from 40% of employees is the required step prior to holding a vote to join a union.

While 3,200 signatures meets Ontario’s requirement for Unifor to hold a union-certification vote, President Jerry Dias tells the newspaper the union wants to hold off on voting until it has more signatures from plant workers.

“We have enough for a certification, but we’re still collecting cards so that when we have a vote, it’s not close,” Dias is quoted as saying.

The Unifor president believes this certification vote will succeed because Woodstock and Cambridge workers are older and “infuriated” with changes to line speed, shifts and pension plans.

Some 85% of Toyota’s plants globally are organized, including in Japan, where Dias recently met with local union officials.

Toyota’s Ontario plants are critical pipelines for the automaker’s best-selling models in the U.S.

The Cambridge plant assembles the Corolla compact sedan, typically Toyota’s No.2 best-seller in the U.S. after the Camry midsize sedan, as well as Lexus’ No.1-seller in the U.S., the RX CUV.

The Woodstock plant is the sole North American source of the Toyota RAV4 CUV.

WardsAuto data shows Cambridge built 158,476 Corollas and 73,239 RX 350s through November, down 20.5% and 0.1%, respectively, from like-2012.

Woodstock assembled 175,868 RAV4s through November, up 12.9% from year-ago.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com