What's Wrong With This Picture: The UAW Is Looking Out For You Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
what s wrong with this picture the uaw is looking out for you edition

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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  • Ion Ion on Feb 22, 2010

    You know that skull badge would probably sell well as an accessory

  • Steven02 Steven02 on Feb 22, 2010

    GM's presence at NUMMI was minimal. GM didn't sell a lot of Vibes. Toyota made 3 vehicles there, Corolla, Tacoma, and Matrix, all of which sold better than the Vibe. Not that I agree with the picketing and boycotting, but Toyota did decide to shutdown NUMMI. Toyota has over production and it would have come from somewhere else if it wasn't NUMMI. GM's pullout didn't really matter. Production could have been taken from other plants to replace "volume" from the Vibe.

  • ASISEEIT ASISEEIT on Feb 22, 2010

    Well if vehicle sales don't warrent keeping open what is most probably one of the most expensive plants to operate (Being California Is Business Challenged-E.P.A., A.Q.M.D.-LIBERALS) it makes sense to close it. What I do find ironic is the non-stop bashing of domestic automakers and their workers about anything and the continued unconditional support for Toyota. Look at this article on this website --forums.motortrend.com/.../another...toyota-toyota...saving/index.html If you don't start to at least get a little irritated with Toyota you either work for them or own quite a bit of stock!

    • Kevin Kluttz Kevin Kluttz on Apr 19, 2011

      Maybe if domestic automakers would make better cars, we would stop bashing them. It's up to them to make themselves unbashable. That won't happen. And definitely hasn't so far, if the 2010 Cobalt I'm renting right now (my 2006 Civic was hit to the tune of $3300 in my own driveway by a roofer who was leaving the job...) is any indication. Runs well, but the interior is pitiful and the car feels like a bucket compared to the Civic. It also has a major chassis rattle in the left front. Kinda scary. No dice, EVER, GM.

  • Tparkit Tparkit on Feb 22, 2010

    I remember once writing about Toyota and NUMMI something like "look for Toyota to get a lot more reasonable (about providing parachutes for displaced UAW members) when da Chicago Boyz come calling." That's what's going on here. It's a shakedown. Toyota can put a featherbed under former NUMMI workers, or get the crap kicked out of it in Washington. It's like, ya knows, a free choice.