Do you think Toyota would've done this if they were in a Union?

by admin on October 20, 2010

Former employees of a shuttered California auto plant sued the factory and Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday, claiming they were denied fair severance packages because injuries kept them off the job in the months leading to the facility’s closure.

The suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Oakland, seeks a revised severance agreement, restitution, lost compensation, other employee benefits and monetary damages.

The lawsuit also seeks class-action status. Lawyers claim that about 300 of the 4,700 employees who lost their jobs when the Fremont-based New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or Nummi, closed April 1 may be affected.

Many of the laid-off employees, who assembled Toyota cars and trucks. Employees who worked continuously in the six months before the plant’s closure also received enhancements based on years of service and other factors.

Tony Lawson, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the enhancements added an average of ,000 to an employee’s severance agreement, so denying those who were on disability leave during that six-month period translated to a huge loss for the worker.

"Some of these people had worked there 25 years and were injured in the last six months," Lawson said. "We allege they’re being discriminated against with respect to their severance because of their disability."

The lawsuit also claims that disabled workers were not allowed to take advantage of some employment services such as career and skills assessments, and they were refused employment when they attempted to go back to work after a doctor said it was OK.

Nummi spokesman Lance Tomasu said the company doesn’t typically comment on pending litigation, however, the factory "has always prided itself on treating its team members with respect and fairness and we believe we’ve done so in this situation."

Toyota spokesman Rick Hesterberg did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The Nummi plant was established in 1984 as a joint venture between General Motors Co. and Toyota. GM made the Pontiac Vibe there but withdrew from the alliance last year after filing for bankruptcy protection.

Toyota made the Corolla sedan and Tacoma pickup at the plant but said it could not sustain the factory without GM and warned Nummi it would shutter operations.

Besides the jobs lost at the factory, the closure devastated thousands of others whose businesses were made servicing and supplying the plant and its workers. Nearly 8 million vehicles were built at the sprawling facility at the southern edge of San Francisco Bay before it closed.

New hope has been injected in the area with two recent announcements, however.

Tesla Motors Inc. said it was purchasing the plant to build its Model S electric sedan and collaborate with Toyota on an electric vehicle that will combine a high-volume Toyota vehicle with a Tesla electric powertrain.

The federal government also said it would provide million in emergency grants to help workers who lost their jobs when Nummi closed.

Would this have been so easy to do if they were in a Union?

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{ 6 comments }

Dave87gn October 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

japanese car companies have unions over there, but they come over here because the republicans are so anti union, they can make more money paying their workers less

Altair 1 October 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

They would have gone bankrupt if they had been union.

Western European Mutt - WEM October 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Thankfully Toyota hasn’t been ruined by unions.

I sue Red States October 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Toyota made better cars than we did because they didn’t have Unions pricing them out of the market.
We could make better cars than them, but they would cost twice as much.

We should have let the auto industry go bankrupt so we could restructure the Union pay about 35% lower. Including benefits, auto workers are making 60-70 an hour for a 20 an hour jub.

lah lah lah October 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

If they were union, they would build crap cars.

Cheveldi October 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Wow, they should be glad anyone got anything.

Why should you look for a hand out when your company is going out of business.?

Yeah, lets make others around the country lose their jobs so we can get severence pay.

I am sorry but this is ridiculous. The plant went down! Oh well! Guess you should have been looking for another job cause I’m sure it wasn’t a surprise.

Oh, and yes maybe the Toyota employees should have banded together to help each other out but I guess they were all selfish and screwed those injured. But we the last thing we need is the UAW getting involved. That union needs to fall and fall hard.

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