Toyota: Where's Our Bailout?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The Los Angeles Times reports Toyota has requested $2m in state training funds for workers at its NUMMI plant. The only problem? Toyota has already announced plans to close the Fremont, California, factory. The State of California’s Employment Training Panel had previously agreed to pay back the $2m Toyota spent for training at NUMMI, but since then Toyota and GM made the decision to end their joint venture at NUMMI and end production there. Toyota’s argument was summarized in a statement by NUMMI saying, “These skills have made our team members greater contributors to NUMMI and will make them more attractive to prospective employers when they conclude their employment here in April 2010.” But don’t count on that argument gaining much traction.

“This has the appearance of some kind of dreadful corporate welfare,” retorts Barry Broad, a labor union lobbyist who just so happens to serve as the panel’s acting chairman. “We can’t in good conscience give money to train people how to do jobs that are about to disappear forever.” The panel’s executive director, Brian McMahon, seems to concur, telling the LAT, “I don’t believe there are any more opportunities for [NUMMI workers] in automobile manufacturing.” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered the panel to “conduct a thorough review and determine if NUMMI misled the state at any time. If so, every tool available will be used to safeguard these training resources.”

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Lokkii Lokkii on Sep 25, 2009

    Hey - Here's an idea! Toyota can declare that they're working on an electric car and that they're training the NUMMI workers to build it- and then get money from the Federal Government for that! The Federal Government isn't broke like California(Sic)! Laugh if you will but it got Fiskers $500M and they're not even located in the United States.

  • Corvair Corvair on Sep 25, 2009

    It is both amusing and disheartening to see that the Japanese have 'gone native', and will mouth the most ridiculous justifications to glom onto the taxpayers' money just as well as the Detroit folks.

  • TonUpBoi TonUpBoi on Sep 25, 2009

    It'll cost $2 million to retrain NUMMI employees to work at Burger King or Jack in the Box?

  • Windswords Windswords on Sep 25, 2009

    faster_than_rabbit: "California is a Donor State California taxpayers receive less federal funding per dollar of federal taxes paid than the average state. In 2005, California taxpayers received only 78 cents in federal expenditures for every dollar in federal taxes. In 1995, by contrast, California taxpayers were receiving 94 cents in federal expenditures for each tax dollar." I guess this shows that even the federal government knows that California is not a good investment like it used to be.