NUMMI Workers Accept Shutdown Terms

Thursday, Mar 18, 2010  |  Updated 8:30 AM PDT
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"We were told, take it or leave it."

Nummi workers vote on severance package

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"We were told, take it or leave it."

Members of United Auto Workers Local 2244 vote to accept or reject Toyota's $278 million severance package.
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The union that represents workers at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a proposed severance package for the 4,600 workers about to lose their jobs when the plant closes, according to a United Auto Workers official.

The tentative agreement gives an average severance package of $54,000 to union members. The vote also pretty much seals the factory's closing date of April 1.

NUMMI worker Gary Sewell told us he and his colleagues were basically given no choice on the matter.

"We were told basically 'take it or leave it.' We were told in a meeting 'this is what you're gonna get , and if you don't like that, it might be less.'"

Before Wednesday's vote, which was completed at 7 p.m., leaders of the local United Auto Workers chapter said they encouraged members to ratify the agreement despite being disappointed at aspects of the deal.

Before the vote was finalized Wednesday, union leaders blasted Toyota.

"We brought them success and now we have been betrayed," said Sergio Santos, president of UAW Local 2244. Santos said the deal also includes a clause that prohibits the union from talking about the agreement or Toyota.

They wouldn't discuss the proposal in detail, though Javier Contreras, chairman of the bargaining committee, said the union was able to add $28 million to the severance package during negotiations, bringing the total to over $200 million. He said each worker would get a minimum payout of $21,175.

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