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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Sunday, March 7, 2010

What’s the real reason for closing NUMMI?

From: MM5

There was a memo by Seiichi Sudo, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing in North America (TEMA), that was leaked out at Toyota's Kentucky plant. The memo was written around 2006 with a 5 year timeline (2006-2011) outlining a plan to reduce wages.

From:
http://www.onthelinenews.com/Newsletter/070901-Sept/01-news-Sept07-01.htm

is developing strategies which will reduce labor costs by $300 million by fiscal 2011.” That’s according to a “Self-Reliance Plan,

Headcount and Rate (Wages and Benefits). Our strategy moving forward is to base our hourly wages more closely with the state manufacturing wages where each plant is located, and not tie ourselves so closely to the U.S. auto industry, or other competitors,


Why was $300 million chosen? Why not $400 million? Why not $500 million? If you assume average NUMMI earnings of $65k x 4500 team members, you have $292.5 million or $300 million rounded up. Was the $300 million a veiled reference to NUMMI wages?

And what does he mean when he says to not tie themselves "so closely to the U.S. auto industry, or other competitors"? Is that another reference to NUMMI where the other half of the plant is owned by their competitor, GM?

Exactly how Toyota plans on reducing their labor costs by $300 million was only a matter of conjecture by the UAW back in 2007. They offered a few guesses in the article referenced. But then, the 2008 economic collapse lowered demand which gave Toyota the impetus and justification to close NUMMI which they had planned since at least 2006.

Toyota's wages at their non-union plants are pegged to UAW rates to keep their employees from voting in the UAW. Toyota has successfully thwarted attempts to unionize at Kentucky and Ontario mainly due to their comparable wages. The wages at non-union Toyota plants aren't set to the Big 3. They are set to what we negotiated here at NUMMI, Toyota's only UAW plant. With the UAW out of the way, there's nothing to stop Toyota from accelerating their wage cuts. With the closing of NUMMI, Toyota has achieved their goal of lowering labor costs by $300 million by 2011 and removing the UAW obstacle in one fell swoop. The closing of NUMMI is not a matter of reacting to circumstances, but part of Toyota's long-term plan to get rid of their only union plant so they can lower wages in N. America and keep their profits high. The NUMMI plant closing is a union busting event.

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