New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc, better known as NUMMI, has been operating in Fremont, California since 1984. The plant started as a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota. The idea was that Toyota could cut out the expense of boating cars all the way across the Pacific and The General could learn about Japanese managerial techniques and lean manufacturing processes. And this is how the world got the gift of the Geo Prizm. Last month, GM pulled out of NUMMI, leaving it all to Toyota. And now Toyota's not so sure it wants the plant.

Enter the United Auto Workers. NUMMI is unique in that it's the only Toyota manufacturing facility in the U.S. where the workers are unionized. It's also the only auto plant in California with some 4,500 union jobs. This prompted the UAW to send an email to its members, asking them to contact members of Congress so as to keep the plant (and jobs) alive. Quote the email, "We believe that Toyotas sold in the United States should be made in the United States. California is by far Toyota's single biggest market for car sales in the United States." The ironic part is that many Toyotas sold here are made here, but the jobs (typically in Southern states) are certainly not unionized. Much to the UAW's chagrin.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req. | Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty]

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