Sad Message from NUMMI's Local 2244

Among the first to react to the tentative agreement reached by Japanese carmaker Toyota with UAW representatives from the New United Motors Manufacturing (NUMMI) is Local 2244 and it's president, Sergio Santos.

Without hiding his disappointment, Santos says, in what he calls, "by necessity", his last statement, that in all likelihood his Local will vote in favor of the severance pay package offered by Toyota. Still, Santos says, the offer has a catch...

"The offer mandates a gag order that I believe violates our First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, and our rights to Freedom of Association under the Labor Rights Conventions of the United Nations' International Labor Organization (ILO)."

"Nonetheless, under conditions set by Toyota, after the agreement is ratified, I will no longer be able to comment on the plant closing or its impact on our members."

Although he says is pleased with the increase in severance pay from Toyota, Santos points out that the carmaker had only done so as a result of the "bad publicity" and "because of the strong support we have received from newspaper editorial boards and from communities and individuals."

"Toyota and its surrogate, NUMMI, will issue its own releases boasting of its generosity and philanthropy, its dedication to its workforce and the communities where it operates," warns Santos.

"But as the tens of thousands of people who made Toyota number one run out of money and unemployment benefits, as we lose our homes, our health benefits, and ultimately our health, the true toll of Toyota's decision to abandon vehicle production in California will become clear to everyone."

In all likelihood, NUMMI will close its gates on April 1. California may lose as a result of the closure as many as 50,000 jobs from both the plant and related businesses. The closure would make for the largest mass layoff in the current recession.

"Toyota has betrayed us and now they have gagged us. We will be silent in the future, but we deserve better. We are accepting the terms of Toyota's settlement out of necessity, as a means of securing some limited funds for our families."
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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