UAW members protest a Modesto, CA Toyota dealer, as part of the union’s wider effort to punish Toyota for its decision to shut down the NUMMI factory in nearby Fremont [via the Modesto Bee]. “We are not telling people not to buy Toyota products,” explains one worker. “We’re telling people that Toyota needs to be a responsible corporation and keep jobs in California.” And though there couldn’t be a better time to blame Toyota for just about anything, the NUMMI plant was closed because GM ditched the joint venture during its bankruptcy and government bailout. Toyota, like GM, was faced with overproduction in the US market, and because GM had pulled out of NUMMI, the plant was an obvious candidate for closure. So really, these protesters would have some sinister version of GM’s logo on their sign if they were really interested in fairly assigning blame for the NUMMI shutdown. However, their UAW pension fund owns 17.5 percent of GM, so simply blaming Toyota is a lot more convenient. Especially since Toyota is already attracting so much well-deserved (if wholly-unrelated) negative media attention.
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