What the hell is this?

Mother Muckraker is an internal newsletter at the now defunct New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) in Fremont, CA. The newsletter seeks to debunk the lies and misinformation spread by Toyota and their "company activists"; and more importantly, inform NUMMI union employees about the real reason why Toyota closed their award winning auto plant on April 1, 2010. NUMMI is dead, but Mother Muckraker lives on to serve as a testament to the greedy machinations of Toyota management. Stay tuned for updates.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Interesting comment by one of the organizers of the 1/24/10 event.

From: MM003 2/12/10

http://www.ktvu.com/news/22390787/detail.html


I own a Toyota vehicle, Toyota is paying my salary right now, they gave us a 8 months heads up,” said Gregg

Since when does a union employee get a salary from Toyota? Is she working for Toyota doing something else? What is Maria Gregg doing?

How to discredit NUMMI workers in 10 easy steps

From: MM003 2/12/10

Step 1: Raise trumped up charges of impropriety by union leaders.
Juan Castillo claims in his "Saving Nummi" article that our union leaders made the grievous transgression of "tanning by the pool". One look at their beer bellies will tell anyone with an ounce of common sense that they are not the type of folks that "tan by the pool". They are busy working out the best deal they can for us and it takes time.

Step 2: Create false unanimous support against the union.
Juan claims 3682 signatures were obtained. 3764 NUMMI workers were sent notices of their layoff. So 98 out of 100 people signed the petition?

Step 3: Set up an alternative union meeting one week ahead of the usual meeting time.
Normally, union meetings are on the last Sunday of every month. The organizers, Juan Castillo and Maria Gregg, set it up for 1/24/10. Since its 1 week ahead of schedule, it presumes some sort of urgency.

Step 4: Create invitation that presumes a violent outcome.


In the invitation behind the 1/20/10 Autoworkers Newsletter, it says among other things:

"NUMMI workers outraged...."
"We are ready to demonstrate..."
"This 'powder keg’ is ready to ignite!"
"Be there for the show."

Outraged. Demonstrate. Powder Keg. Ignite. The Show. It looks like its time to get angry!!


Step 5: Invite news media
They have to be there to witness "the show".

Step 6: Hire loud obnoxious hecklers to raise tension and incite a riot.
The white haired guy was putting on quite a show by yelling at Javier at the top of his lungs. Who is that guy? Does he even work at NUMMI? And after everyone got off their chairs, the cameraman can be heard yelling, "F--- him up!! F--- him up!!! Beat his A--!! Beat his A--" This kind of tactic of using "agent provocateurs" is straight out of the playbook of right-wingers at town hall meetings. It's the oldest trick in the book. The FBI used it with the Black Panthers back in the 60s. They do it at town hall meetings; and now, it's at the Local 2244 union hall.

Step 7: Bring video cams and film the juicy bits that the event was designed to instigate.
First cam by unknown miscreant pointing towards the front. Maria Gregg facing towards crowd. Second cam by Maria Gregg facing towards crowd and the podium.  We will examine the first cam by the pottymouth cameraman talking to the white hair guy as it proves this was all a setup.

1st cam from back - "Riot" Video:



2nd cam - Maria Gregg filming from front of union hall:



:21-28 white hair guy yelling "you took our jobs!!!" and yelling other nonsense nonstop with Javier trying to tell everyone what's going on with our benefits.
:29 Javier: "you shut the f--- up you mother------!!"
:31 cameraman yelling "oooohh!! ooooh!!! f-- em up!! f--- em up ooooh!! beat his a---!! beat his a--!!"
:55 "oh s---! (gravely voice of white haired guy after yelling)
1:13 cameraman: "no, but who told you to shut the f--- up?"
1:17 white hairguy: "it was ah ah javier"
1:19 white hair guy "eh, did you video tape this?"
1:21 cameraman "yeah yeah I got.."
1:22 white haired guy "get that s--- on you tube"
1:25 white hair guy "he f-----n told me you shut the f--- up... he threw a f----n bomb"

After everyone got up out of their seats, the desired effect was accomplished and both the white haired guy and cameraman were elated. The cameraman knew they were there to incite a riot and he added more fuel to the fire. The white haired guy goes back to the cameraman right away and talks about what happened and made sure it was caught on video and posted up.

Step 8: Call cops
They got off their chairs! Its serious! Good golly geez. Javier said the F-word!! Call the cops!! Someone had the Fremont Police on speed dial.

Step 9: Post videos on You Tube
The white haired screamer tells the cameraman "Put that s--- on You Tube!!". Maria Gregg also dutifully puts hers on You Tube.

Step 10: Send videos to news media

The Result
The public does not distinguish between UAW, United Alliance, Nummi worker. or even their detractors. When people see the video, all it does is reinforce stereotypes of "union people" as thugs, lazy, and ill-mannered. Our achievements here at NUMMI are tossed aside. Public opinion is swayed against us receiving any fair compensation here at NUMMI. And in the future, it jeopardizes our future employment as we are all associated with being trouble-makers.

Focus

From: MM002 2/3/10

"Company activists" are trying to get us off-track by focusing on GM and the UAW. Neither has money, nor do they owe us money. Toyota has the money because the revenues come from manufacturing Toyotas at NUMMI. The focus should be on Toyota/NUMMI and their "retention package", supporting our bargaining committee, and the real reasons for Toyota closing this plant.

Rumors

From: 002 2/3/10

Rumor: 3%/$500 Union Dues
The only thing anyone heard was that the union was going to forgo their 1.5% dues payment and we will keep that. Everyone clapped after that announcement. The 3%/$500 rumor was spread by "pro-company activists" who are trying to derail the retention package talks.

Rumor: Lazy Bargaining Committee
If the bargaining committee was so lazy and was trying to screw you over, they would've railroaded us into accepting the first proposal that came across their table months ago. It takes lots of time trying to negotiate a good deal for all of us. We elected the bargaining committee just months ago and we should support them. They are not above criticism. If they are doing something wrong, we should be aware and speak up. But this is not a case of them doing anything wrong. This is politics. The "company activists" are campaigning to force a quick decision. You ever seen con-men try and "close the deal quickly" so they can get their hands on your money? That's what these "company activists" are trying to do.

Transfer Rights

From: 002 2/3/10

The bargaining committee said they are trying to get that into the agreement, but chances are not good. One person went up to the mic and said he already tried to apply to Texas, but was told that he was "not qualified". Since this is a union plant, Toyota probably does not want union people in their plants who understand the benefits of being in a union. Toyota has fought very hard against the UAW and CAW in their union drives at Kentucky and Ontario.

Signature Needed for Retention Package?

From: MM002 2/3/10

This "retention package" is designed to pay you as little as possible. At the same time, it's designed to save Toyota's rear end. Do you really think they are doing it for your own good?

Someone brought up something about having to sign away any rights to sue the company in order to get your "retention" package. The issue brought up was that it was cheaper for the company to shut you up with some money than risk a lawsuit. With severance packages or retention packages, you have to sign the contract before the money is released to you. In the fine print of the contract, it includes wording that keeps you from suing the company if you sign. That is something worth considering as this money from our "retention package" will not last very long.

There are many things to consider before signing papers for a large sum of money. You need time to do so. Usually, you are given a few days to a few weeks to decide. If you are 40+ years of age, you must be given 21 days to consider the package. It's a federal law. If you have a legal case against the company, you need to talk with an attorney before signing the papers. If you are over 40, it will be very difficult to find a job and get health insurance. If you suffer from some ailment because of something you were exposed to here at this factory; that alone, will wipe out your finances in the future and will leave you destitute. Then what? Where will the money come from?

Read more on this FAQ and talk to your lawyer:
http://labor-employment-law.lawyers.com/human-resources-law/FAQ-Severance-Agreements.html

UAW Informational Meeting (1/30/10) Report

From: MM002 2/3/10

Tricks and Traps
The $164 million available that the company intends to spend on our retention package is misleading. It assumes everyone qualifies for the maximum available money. The $60,000 illustration that the company gave during the meeting is also misleading. When the union gave their example and worked out the formula, the number came out to around $58,000 for a person that worked there for 24 years assuming all the requirements were fulfilled. But if a person who has worked here for 24 years missed enough days recently, through no fault of their own, they might get as little as $15,000 for their years of service. $15k/24 yrs is only $625/year. After taxes, that amounts to squat. It seems that this proposal by the company is nothing more than a bunch of tricks and traps designed to payout as little money as possible. Executives get golden parachutes while we are fitted with cement boots and told to walk the plank.

What Do You Deserve?
Keep in mind that at other Toyota plants, their workers get $70k+ for leaving. Don't you think we should get that at the minimum? If our "retention/severance" package is based on performance, don't you think we should be getting more than $70k? Didn't we get a plantwide TEMA audit of .05 with trucks getting ZERO? Isn't that the best ever? Isn't that defect level the lowest of ALL Toyota plants? Wasn't Corollas the #1 best selling car during the “Cash For Clunkers” deal? Isn't the Corolla the best selling car of all time? How should employees at Toyota's MODEL PLANT be compensated?

Fallacies

From: MM001 1/24/10

There have been numerous fallacies that have been foisted on us right from the beginning. A couple of them are making the rounds lately.

Blaming GM for Shutting Down Nummi
GM owns ½ the shares of NUMMI. So when GM files for bankruptcy, it stand to reason that their half of NUMMI can be sold to Toyota for pennies on the dollar. Toyota’s corporate website shows NUMMI’s total investment as $1.3 billion. If one were to make the assumption that GM paid ½ and GM’s share of NUMMI is actually worth $650 million, the effects of bankruptcy would further lower that number. That is chump change as Toyota has $56 billion in cash. Also, most of the vehicles produced are Toyotas. The Vibe accounted for a small portion of the revenues of NUMMI. Most of the revenue come from Corollas and Tacomas. If anything, it looks like it would be an opportunity for Toyota, but Toyota decided not to acquire the other half. Why? What’s the real reason?

http://www.toyota.com/about/our_business/operations/manufacturing/nummi/


NUMMI as separate from Toyota NUMMI is listed on the Toyota corporate site as one of their own.
http://www.toyota.com/about/our_business/operations/manufacturing/

NUMMI is a privately held corporation that is owned by GM (now MLC) and Toyota. From what is understood, it has always been 50/50.

TMMTX is Toyota Motor Mfg. Texas, Inc. They are also a privately held corporate entity; but in their case, they are owned by the Toyota corporation 100%.
http://www.toyota.com/about/our_business/operations/manufacturing/tmmtx/

NUMMI was Toyota’s first plant in the U.S. and they used GM’s facilities to get a foothold into the U.S. car market. The only difference between NUMMI and a factory like TMMTX is on paper. NUMMI and Toyota is one in the same. We are (more accurately… were) audited by TEMA. We make Corollas and Tacomas. We use the Toyota Production System. We are a Toyota plant.

Employment Situation

From: MM001 1/24/10

The closing of NUMMI could not have come at a worse time. Jobs are very hard to come by and many people are still on unemployment looking for a job for over a year and a ½ now. Some people have become homeless after the unemployment checks have ended. Many of us here will face hard times ahead. Jobs are still being lost. Some analysts say this current high unemployment rate is an integral part of our economy and is not likely to come down for the next decade. Mike Shedlock writes in his blog:

Please download the spreadsheet (available in the top link), read my assumptions, then factor in your own assumptions about job growth, outsourcing, productivity, stimulus plans, housing, etc., whatever you want and see for yourself just how hard it will be to get unemployment under 8%, let alone under 6%.

Remember back a decade or so ago when economists thought it was not possible to have unemployment below 7% without a lot of inflation. What if they were correct and the 5% we have had this decade was an outlier? Is that so farfetched?

If after playing around with the spreadsheet you come to the conclusion that we are going to have structurally high unemployment for a decade, I believe you have come to the right conclusion.


http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/11/mapping-unemployment-you-make-call.html

Juan Castillo on the Wrong Track

From: MM001 1/24/10

Support for Republicans
Juan has stated in one of his newsletters his admiration for Ronald Reagan. Juan has posted a video at his website of a Ronald Reagan speech extolling the virtues of the group Project Economic Justice. Don’t let the name fool you. One of the main goals of this pro-corporate front group is to lower wages by replacing wages with stock options. That’s the same as investing in one stock which does not allow for diversification. Any financial planner will tell you that “putting all your eggs in one basket” is a recipe for disaster.

The video referenced:
http://autoworkersnews.webs.com/apps/videos/videos/show/4010758-reagan-praises-walter-reuther-project-economic-justice-

Never Criticize Toyota
It’s Toyota that made the decision to shut down NUMMI. It’s Toyota that decided to stop TEMA audits when we are the plant with the lowest defects. It’s Toyota that owns ½ the shares of this privately held corporation that we call NUMMI. It’s Toyota that has $56 billion in cash as of July 2009 which they can use just a fraction of that to buy MLC’s (formerly GM) share of NUMMI, but they decided against. But instead, Juan is engaging in what amounts to union busting by attacking union finances and our dues payments and giving Toyota a free ride.

Attacking Dues Payments and Union Finances
One of the main elements of union busting tactics and right-wing attacks is to de-fund their opponents. Attacking union dues is a move to de-fund the UAW which effectively dismantles the union. Union dues is how the UAW is funded. It is a small pittance to pay for in exchange for what we are getting. We are making $30/hr because of the union contract which the bargaining committee has fought for. Keep in mind that during the last contract talks, the company was asking for some major concessions. If there is no union, you would not be getting the type of paychecks you are getting.

Demonstrating Against The Union is Wrong

From: MM001 1/24/10

It’s doubtful that 3682 signatures were obtained. According to the WARN database, 3764 Nummi workers were sent notices of their impending layoff; yet, Juan Castillo claims these signatures were all from TMs. If the numbers are true, then 98% of TMs signed the petition. Ask around. Did 98% of the folks around you sign that paper?

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/01/09/BUM01BEE3F.DTL

If you have a problem, you can attend the meetings every last Sunday of the month and voice your concerns. Why the staging of an alternative Sunday one week ahead of schedule? The union leadership has already stated that they will have an informational meeting on Jan 30th Saturday.

Demonstrating against the union is anti-solidarity and works against us in favor of the company. This plays right into the company’s hands. Note that during the last meeting Pamela Fong told us to ask the bargaining representatives for details playing up the false allegations that the union is not representing us. The union hasn’t taken the position (to my knowledge) that any proposal is final. Asking the union for details implies that the union already agrees to the proposal. It’s only final when the union agrees to it.

Who is offering this paltry sum of money to us? The union or the company? If the amount of $164 million for severance seems like a lot of money consider that 164,000,000/3764 workers = $43,570 average. That will not last long considering this current job market where many folks are maxing out their unemployment benefits and still looking for work a year and a half later.

Demonstrating against the union is an asinine move. If we demonstrate, we should demonstrate against the company because they are the ones shutting down the plant and they are the ones giving us this meager proposal.