UAW, Toyota Reach Tentative Deal on NUMMI

The projected closure of the New United Motor Manufacturing (NUMMI) plant in California entered its final stretch this week, after the carmaker which still operates it, Toyota, and the UAW representing the workers have reached a tentative agreement.

The agreement, whose details have not been made public, is subject to a ratification vote by UAW workers at the plant, likely to be cast in the following weeks.

A week ago, Toyota announced it will provide NUMMI workers with $250 million in funding for "transition support."

Toyota’s financial support is enabling NUMMI to offer bonuses to salaried and hourly team members who continue to produce quality vehicles for Toyota through 1 April, 2010, when Toyota’s production contract with NUMMI will end."

In addition, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced it will assume responsibility for the underfunded pension plan of the 5,800 employees and retirees from the plant.

Even if all brace for the closure, a glimmer of hope for NUMMI still exists. According to a report earlier this week, electric startup Aurica Motors is eyeing a possible takeover of the plant, to use it as the assembly grounds for its future zero-emission vehicles.

“We want to keep the plant open, and we believe we have a very viable plan to do so by manufacturing electric cars,” Aurica general manager Matt Pitagora said. “It’s all about keeping the lights on.”

If the lights aren't "kept on," 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.
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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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