Final Tacoma Rolls Out of NUMMI

Early layoffs surprise workers

Production at California's sole remaining auto plant is winding down, as the Fremont facility prepares to close April 1. The final Toyota Sequoia truck rolls off the line Friday at about 5 p.m. The plant will roll out the final Corolla next week, just before the doors close for the last time.

Parts of the New United Motor Manufacturing, or NUMMI, plant have finished work ahead of schedule and are shutting down this week. Workers in the paints and plastics section and the auto body area were let go Thursday.

The early layoff took the employees by surprise when they showed up to work and were told there was nothing left to do. NUMMI officials say all full-time employees still will be paid through April 1 as part of their severance packages.

NUMMI began 25 years ago as a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors Co. GM pulled out last year, and Toyota later announced it would halt production, eliminating 4,700 jobs.

The plant's closure is the latest blow to the state's struggling manufacturing sector, which has lost nearly a fifth of its work force over the past five years.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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