Shame on you, Toyota!

  #1  
Old 07-09-2008, 09:25 PM
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Default Shame on you, Toyota!

Story Highlights
Japanese labor bureau rules Toyota car engineer died from working too many hours
Man, aged 45, was lead engineer in developing a hybrid version of Camry line
In the two months up to his death, he averaged over 80 hours of overtime per month
Daughter found his body at home; he died of ischemic heart disease in January 2006
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapc....ap/index.html

Toyota owners should email their local Toyota dealership and express their anger over this. Even though I don't own a Camry- I do own a Yaris (and Civic Hybrid) and am ashamed of owning a vehicle from a company that would foster such a climate. Speak up- let them know they need to care about their people.
 
  #2  
Old 07-10-2008, 01:42 AM
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Default Re: Shame on you, Toyota!

People, sadly, die every day of the week.
Ever since OJ, I don't trust 'rulings'.
There are a thousand factors involved in why a person gets sick.
Mankind is only capable of assessing 1/2 of them.
BTW, when did the "Japanese labor bureau" become a competent medical authority?
Condolences to his family, but this is an unfair determination.
If there were a connection between overtime and death, we'd see a torrent of news stories about people dropping dead under similar conditions. How many of his co-workers putting in similar hours also died? If they survived, maybe the cause of death was something other than the overtime.
I'm not a doctor, but since this appears (at least to me) to be a one off, I'll say this is spurious correlation, that is, someone (probably a lawyer) tried to draw a connection between the unfortunate event and a (deep pocketed) defendant. Had it not been the Toyota overtime, one could have tried to connect the event with traffic jams, the economy or even the decline in Ichiro's batting average.
People die, sad but true.
Sometimes unexpectedly.
 
  #3  
Old 07-10-2008, 06:00 AM
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Default Re: Shame on you, Toyota!

Haroldo - I couldn't agree more. This same thread is on another message board I read. I think there were other factors in this man's death. Look at the hours that people in the US work, like lawyers, doctors, etc. When you have a demanding job you have to figure out how to make it work so that you maintain some sort of balance.

I think this story is just a way for people to bash Toyota. They've worked hard to get where they are and a lot of people are critical of everything. On a GM board, any Toyota recall is treated like a major ordeal. And the recalls I've read there have been terribly minor.
 
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:26 AM
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Default Re: Shame on you, Toyota!

The work climate described in the articles on this topic is not a product of Toyota, it is a product of Japanese society in general.

Japanese culture is very different from ours, with people being comparing themselves based on how many hours they put in at the office, not how big of an SUV or boat they can buy. Things like personal honor and dedication to the company are still highly valued, although gradually the trend is shifting away as they become more "westernized" and want to enjoy life a little more rather than simply being worker bees for 12-16 hours a day.
 
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:47 AM
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Default Re: Shame on you, Toyota!

Is there any proof that Toyota forced this person to work 80hr overtime a month? Even if that was the case, he could quit the job and find another one, less stressing, like cleaning the streets or something. Besides what's 20 hrs overtime a week for very high manager position? I bet this is not unusual even in US, especially during some short, very busy time, like launching totally new car. If I added my commuting time, which is much more stressful than my work, I would be right up there, with 55 or more hours a week and I can't even sue anybody . Must be slow week in news, that's right, is summer. I think Korea is even worse than Japan, when it comes to workaholic culture.
 
  #6  
Old 07-10-2008, 06:50 AM
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Default Re: Shame on you, Toyota!

Japanese, as well many of the other Asian communities (if I may generalize about an entire population) have 'westernized' (more fat, salt, sugar, processed foods, fast foods, etc.) their diet over the last few decades.
Could that have lead to an increase in heart disease?
 
  #7  
Old 07-11-2008, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: Shame on you, Toyota!

Originally Posted by haroldo View Post
People, sadly, die every day of the week.
Ever since OJ, I don't trust 'rulings'.
There are a thousand factors involved in why a person gets sick.
Mankind is only capable of assessing 1/2 of them.
BTW, when did the "Japanese labor bureau" become a competent medical authority?
Condolences to his family, but this is an unfair determination.
If there were a connection between overtime and death, we'd see a torrent of news stories about people dropping dead under similar conditions. How many of his co-workers putting in similar hours also died? If they survived, maybe the cause of death was something other than the overtime.
I'm not a doctor, but since this appears (at least to me) to be a one off, I'll say this is spurious correlation, that is, someone (probably a lawyer) tried to draw a connection between the unfortunate event and a (deep pocketed) defendant. Had it not been the Toyota overtime, one could have tried to connect the event with traffic jams, the economy or even the decline in Ichiro's batting average.
People die, sad but true.
Sometimes unexpectedly.
There are a number of cultural factors at work, as well as biological ones.
  • The 'workplace norm' expectations on the amount of overtime is a part of the 'corporate culture'. That's under both direct and indirect upper management control, and set through schedules and expectations. With a culture that punishes 'schedule misses', it can lead to pressure-cooker stress, and be quite deadly. By reports in the press, the deadlines for the TCH launch were quite aggressive.
  • The cultural acceptance of self-destructive behaviors like tobacco use and the use of other recreational drugs (e.g. alcohol), like workplace norming, can likewise lead to early death. No indication in the press if the particular gentleman engaged in such behaviors.
  • Diet, including foods available in the company cafeterias, is a big factor. Coupled with overtime, the company cafeteria often becomes a primary source of food. Preponderance of "bad" choices create a toxic environment.
  • Individual personality and ways of 'focusing' on tasks to the exclusion of anything else is a 'two-edged sword'. It can foster success, but quite often at a cost of meaningful relationships and personal health. Promotion schemes that reward this sort of personality traits can and often does create toxic workplace culture. Workaholics make lousy leaders.
 
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Shame on you, Toyota!

I read that article as well. I know in Japan if you work for a major corporation you are expected to work what ever overtime they want you to. I'm sure the culture only leads to more of these kinds of things..........proof if anymore is needed that working too much can kill you. It can and does..........maybe they don't need to prove he died from overwork. I'm sure if nothing else, working as much as they say this person did would not be a good thing. I'm sure Toyota is not the only corporation that may put pressure on it's employees to work overtime.
 
  #9  
Old 07-11-2008, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Shame on you, Toyota!

I agree with all the points given. But, the Japanese Labor Bureau and the Aichi Labor Bureau are equally aware and yet they ruled in favor of the worker. There should be no doubt that Toyota was well represented in this case given their vast financial resources. However, in Japan, Toyota may be looked upon like GM is in the US and thus be a target for worker related issues.
 
  #10  
Old 07-12-2008, 02:41 AM
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Default Re: Shame on you, Toyota!

Originally Posted by jwltch View Post
Look at the hours that people in the US work, like lawyers, doctors, etc.
And truck drivers. I drive up to 70 hours per week. Plus I'm setting in the truck or getting loaded another 20 to 30 hours per week. I usually work 7 days a week. Sometimes from 5 am till midnight. There is no one to blame for my health but myself. Lots of people work over 80 hours per week. Some people just like the extra income some need the extra income just to pay the bills. For whatever reason he was overworked I'm sure they didn't have a gun to his head.
 

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