Is Toyota Trying to Break NUMMI Union?



Toyota is threatening to close the NUMMI auto plant in Fremont in a move that could be designed to extract big concessions from the United Auto Workers union or break its hold on the factory completely. Toyota is well-known as a non-union employer, and doesn't appear anxious to keep the union-operated NUMMI plant open now that General Motors has dropped out of the partnership because of bankruptcy. In fact, General Motors' involvement in the plant was the reason why New United Motors Manufacturing Inc. was unionized in the first place.

According to the Fremont Argus, Toyota has said that it plans to determine the fate of the NUMMI plant soon. At the same time, union contracts at the plant expire Aug. 8. In other words, the timing of Toyota's threat to close the plant appears designed to affect union negotiations. Some Fremont public officials view it that way too. "I think underlying their comments is a push to come to a quick conclusion with the United Auto Workers in a new accord," Fremont Economic Development Director Daren Fields told the Argus.