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

by admin on November 8, 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?

{ 4 comments }

Cali Livin November 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Seeing how maybe only one person read this is really funny.

No the Union would stand up to the Corporation.

Dina W November 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

There wouldn’t be Toyota plants if the Unions wormed their way in….

And we would have a lot more unemployed people… That is why we have laws that cover workers now…. and courts

FreedomWins V November 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Sux to be them, doesn’t it?

Noah H November 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Corporations have ‘associations’ that act like ‘unions’ to protect the interests of those corporations. Their ‘interests’ include rollbacks of environmental concerns, a drive to eliminate all corporate taxes and gut all worker safety and health laws and regulations. Corporation ‘unions’ such as that National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce and dozens of other smaller ‘associations’ spend millions of dollars to elect ‘their’ people…people who for the most part are anti ‘union’ when it comes to such groups as the ‘Teamsters’ and the United Auto Workers. By the wholesale busting of workers unions such as when the Reagan administration busted PATCO, the air traffic controllers union, corporations, particularly the trans national corporations have pretty much bought ‘our’ government. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations do not have to identify themselves or the amounts of money that they can hand out to the candidates they favor, and since the right wing radio dummies and FOX have invested tens of thousands of air hours bad mouthing workers unions the next decade will see the end to any worker consideration, fairness or justice….all in the name of profits. On the plus side workers will cop the attitude that if the ‘corporations pretend to pay us, we’ll pretend to work’. History continues to unfold!

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