Toyota Pays $6 Million To Close Book On NUMMI. The Shafting Continues (Video NSFW)

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Toyota closed the last chapters of the book on NUMMI, wrote a check for $6 million, and put the book to where it will collect the dust of history. According to Reuters, Toyota reached a $6 million settlement with former NUMMI workers.

The suit was brought by workers on medical leave when NUMMI was shut down in March 2010. It’s not that they had gone empty-handed. After GM had pulled out of NUMMI in June 2009 and left Toyota holding the bag, Toyota announced plans to pull out by March 2010. Toyota had negotiated a $281 million settlement-agreement with the UAW-represented workers, while GM was whistling Dixie.

At the time it was clear that some union brothers were more equal than others. Through careful wording, sick or injured workers who did not meet certain attendance requirements received only $21,175, which left more of the pie for the able-bodied workers. Workers with over 25 years of experience received $68,500. This was clear when the contract was accepted with a 90 percent majority. For its services, the UAW pocketed 3 percent of the severance payment. At the time, the UAW owned 17.5 percent of GM. The disputes led to union meetings as the one above, and to more intelligible, but not less colorful ones as this one (wear headsets at work:)

Contract or not, the slighted workers brought suit. They sued Toyota, not the union that negotiated the deal on their behalf, a deal they had signed. The suit ground its way through the wheels of justice, and is now settled.

About 500 workers are expected to file and receive awards from the settlement, says Reuters. There must have been an epidemic in Freemont at the time. The plant was said to have employed a total of 5,400 employees, including 4,550 UAW hourly workers. Any way you slice it, that’s an absentee rate of around 10 percent.

The shafting continues. The biggest chunk of the settlement, $700,000 goes to lawyers. The remaining $5.3 million will be distributed – according to a new formula. If all 500 will apply, the average payout will be around $10,500. But in a time-honored tradition, some will get more, some less.


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  • Pgcooldad Pgcooldad on Aug 21, 2011

    Meantime Americans will lap up union built cars coming out of Germany, Japan and Korea.

    • See 2 previous
    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Aug 21, 2011

      @highdesertcat My dad was a member of the IBEW during the fifties and sixties and had to put up with union rules and the concept of "a job for everyone" which meant he wasn't allowed to do anything other than his own assigned union-sanctioned job. So it was that many projects fell behind in those days because jobs were waiting for other union members to do their share of the work. My dad was a Master Electrician and had to wait for other union members to install wiring or to clean up a site before starting the next job which had to be prepped by yet other union members. When he was offered a civil service job with the JPL at Los Angeles AFS he jumped at the chance and worked there until he retired at age 65. Money wasn't as good until he got to the GS-12 level. While new to the job and for three years after, the union steward for the Federal Employees union came around and put a lot of pressure on my father to join up (or be shunned by other members). But he held firm and was promoted to the GS-12 level on merit and experience after three years which put him out of the union's grasp and smack dab in a management billet. I think that there was a time when unions made sense, but these days the government makes sure that employees are well protected. What the UAW did to GM and Chrysler was inexcusable and I think that what Toyota chose to do to settle all this was the best thing they could do in a bad situation. Experiment or not, Toyota learned an expensive lesson but I am certain that Toyota will recoup all that money, and more, in future sales in the US alone.

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Aug 21, 2011

    I'm no fan the domestics or the UAW. I generally buy Honda and Nissan, usually with a 3rd pedal. That said, boycotts do not work, the bailout is done, the money spent. Maximize YOUR personal well being when in the market for a vehicle. If I were in the market for a casual use pickup, I'd probably get the best one for the buck, a Silverado. The extra margin that GM gets from this sale means almost nothing. The benefit to me, with the money I save over a Tundra, is significant: I can support politicians and organizations that will have the guts to put a bullet in GM's brain if it crawls back to the taxpayers a second time. I can support governors like Scott Walker willing to do the hard thing toward unions.

  • SilverCoupe I am one of those people whose Venn diagram of interests would include Audis and Formula One.I am not so much into Forums, though. I spend enough time just watching the races.
  • Jeff S Definitely and very soon. Build a hybrid pickup and price it in the Maverick price range. Toyota if they can do this soon could grab the No 1 spot from Maverick.
  • MaintenanceCosts Would be a neat car if restored, and a lot of good parts are there. But also a lot of very challenging obstacles, even just from what we can see from the pictures. It's going to be hard to justify a restoration financially.
  • Jeff S Ford was in a slump during this era and its savior was a few years away from being introduced. The 1986 Taurus and Sable saved Ford from bankruptcy and Ford bet the farm on them. Ford was also helped by the 1985 downsize front wheel drive full sized GM cars. Lincoln even spoofed these new full size GM cars in an ad basically showing it was hard to tell the difference between a Cadillac, Buick, and Oldsmobile. This not only helped Lincoln sales but Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria sales. For GM full size buyers that liked the downsized GM full size 77 to 84 they had the Panther based Lincoln Town Cars, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Ford Crown Victorias that were an alternative to the new GM front wheel drive full size cars that had many issues when they were introduced in 1985 and many of those issues were not resolved for several years. The Marks were losing popularity after the Mark Vs.
  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.
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