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.


Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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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.

  • ToolGuy Honda is dreaming. And resting on its 'laurels' (French for 'posterior').
  • SCE to AUX Here's some advice - slow down. That's a great way to arrive home safely, without a ticket, with lower blood pressure, and more economically.
  • Dartdude They need to rebrand the models, The standard model should be Wagoneer and long version should be Grand Wagoneer. There should offer the Ram Rev powertrain in these
  • Irvingklaws Seems more like they're adopting Honda styling queues. Now if they would just adopt their reliability...
  • FreedMike "Obsidian Edition."Oooooh, obsidian is really, really hard stuff.
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