Thanks to the hard work and solidarity of the United Auto Workers union, Detroit automakers have for years known that it is extremely expensive to offer early retirements, entice workers to walk away from their jobs or permanently close the doors at a plant. And even though NUMMI is an independent company, Toyota, too, is now fully aware of the financial pain involved in mothballing a factory for good. The Freemont, California NUMMI plant became expendable after General Motors cut ties with the company during its bankruptcy proceedings, leaving Toyota with more capacity than it needed.

A report from the Silicon Valley Mercury News indicates that the UAW and NUMMI have reached a tentative agreement on a separation package valued at $281 million, or about $60,000 for each and every member of the 4,700 worker plant. The original proposal was valued at $253 million, with $168 million for hourly workers and $85 million for salaried employees.

While $60,000 sounds like a king's ransom to simply walk away from a job, the number isn't as impressive when considering national unemployment at close to 10 percent. After all, it's not exactly as though there are plenty of quality manufacturing jobs out there – even when times are good.

With NUMMI scheduled to shutter on April 1, we can see why some workers are anxious to close the deal. NUMMI employee Scott MacMillan reportedly told the SVMN that workers are dissatisfied with the amount of information the UAW is giving workers, adding "that has caused a lot of frustration for the employees." NUMMI UAW workers are scheduled to vote on the separation package later today.

[Source: Silicon Valley Mercury News | Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty]


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