80% of NUMMI Workers Upset With The UAW

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We got a tip last week from a NUMMI employee who is hoping mad with the UAW. It turns out that there are quite a few NUMMI workers who are upset by the fact that the UAW was protesting against Toyota’s decision to close NUMMI. In an open letter to Sergio Santos (President of the UAW Local 2244), one NUMMI worker said the following:

I find myself taken aback by the union’s behavior in recent months. Your continued efforts to petition Toyota to keep NUMMI open are not only futile, but it has angered the membership at large who feel that asking Toyota to keep the plant open at this point is a waste of time and money

Another NUMMI worker wrote an open letter to UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, demanding that the UAW stop trying to politicize NUMMI’s closure and start working on an exit package for NUMMI workers:

As of today, the UAW has not held meetings with its membership in which they have disclose details of the “Effects Bargaining Agreement.” The UAW continues on a Toyota petition drive that is lacking support from its membership at the NUMMI plant, and which has become a distraction from what is really important to this membership. This membership has paid union dues to the UAW for 25 years. These dues add up to over 72 million dollars, and it entitles this membership to demand immediate representation. We require the UAW to focus on what’s important to this membership. We demand immediate disclosure of counter proposal details. We demand the UAW discontinue the Toyota petition drive. Our local leaders have been out of this plant for the past five months under the pretext of bargaining. Therefore, we demand that the financial report for the last five months be mailed out to each member of this local union. We demand that you, President Gettelfinger, attend the January 24 membership meeting and answer every question this membership has…

This letter from NUMMI workers to the head of the UAW was signed by 3,682 of NUMMI’s roughly 4,400 workers. In other words, more than 80% of NUMMI’s UAW workers believe that the UAW is failing them.

UAW leadership at NUMMI has also been accused of skipping out on a protest that they organized. The anecdote states that the UAW reps who were behind the recent San Jose Auto Show Toyota protest skipped out on the last day of the protest so that they could fly to a conference in Florida.

The UAW is, in many ways, a gigantic failure. Time and again, when UAW leaders were asked to make sacrifices for the good of the company they worked for, they went on strike. The net result of all of these UAW’s actions hit last year when both GM and Chrysler filed bankruptcy, resulting in thousands of union jobs lost. Yet the UAW soldiers on, largely because many members simply don’t recognize the ineptitude of their union representatives.

For instance: when UAW workers were asked to support the long-standing pattern bargaining arrangement and grant Ford the same concessions they had granted to GM and Chrysler, UAW members quickly declined…despite the fact that doing so made Ford less competitive than it’s cross-town rivals. Obviously, at some point this inherent lack of competition with GM and Chrysler will hurt Ford…which will hurt the people who work for Ford…many of whom are UAW members. It seems so obvious, yet so many UAW members are oblivious to the fact that their union is hell-bent on self-destruction.

Of course, if you ask 80% of the workers at NUMMI, you might hear that quite a few of them have little to no regard for the UAW. While Toyota’s decision to close NUMMI was based on a few factors, many NUMMI workers will tell you that Toyota walked away from NUMMI because it was ran by the UAW. In the minds of many workers, NUMMI would still be up and running were it not for the UAW.

While the UAW has undoubtedly done some good for some of it’s members, folks at NUMMI might disagree. So might UAW workers at Chrysler’s Newark Durango plant, Sterling Heights plant, and Chrylser’s plant in Windsor, Ontario.

GM UAW workers at Wilmington Assembly, Janesville Assembly, Doraville Assembly, Oshawa Truck Assembly, Orion, Michigan Assembly, Spring Hill, Tenessee, and a dozen other plants might also agree that the UAW has failed.

When you add it all up, the string of failures by the UAW is profound. While some of the blame certainly rests in the hands of inept corporate management, it’s hard to argue with one, simple fact: the UAW is supposed to protect the jobs of their members…but they don’t. Why the UAW didn’t protect all those jobs isn’t really important to the thousands of people who used to be UAW members.

Good luck to all the folks at NUMMI – let’s hope that Toyota offers a severance package that’s fair.

Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. J. D. says:

    UAW = Epic Fail

  2. vic says:

    UAW is a business, a business that is a group of guys riding the american workers coat tails. The local UAW representatives are mad because now they have to work to make a living.

  3. Joe says:

    As a 15+ year NUMMI employee and UAW member, I feel obliged to share my observations with the following response.


    Ask a NUMMI employee/UAW member what we have to say about the UAW. The response will be prefaced with a four letter word! Ask any one of the 400 who attended the UAW meeting this past Sunday (1/24/10) regarding questions about the still undisclosed severence packet and the vulgar four letter words the UAW used to respond with to members posing these questions. I can guarantee that the 80% dissatisfied UAW members have swelled to 90% who are fed up with the lack of representation by the “brotherhood” at NUMMI.

    The UAW has been “invisible” for the past several months and REFUSES to be respond to any of our questions (verbally or written) about plant closure and a severance packet! In fact, the UAW has only issued propaganda of how hard the UAW is working to negotiate a fair severence packet on our behalf.

    Instead they continue to use our dues to politize the closure of NUMMI as a Toyota issue with idiotic and futile attempts to get petition signatures on a worthless piece of paper stating that the signee will not buy Toyota products if the NUMMI plant in Fremont, CA closes. The UAW even requested that we have our family and friends sign petitions too! The latest waste of union dues was the UAW week long petition drive at the Las Vegas Auto Show…aka a “paid vacation” with our dues!

    UAW…wake up!!! GM screwed NUMMI and the UAW in a cowards fashion with their simplistic paragraph, buried in their bankruptcy filing, about pulling out of the GM/Toyota joint venture!

    NUMMI employees are giving 100% by continuely producing the best Toyota product as respect to Toyota…until the last vehicle rolls off the line on 04/01/10!

  4. Jeffrey Pelas says:

    As a 18 year member of the UAW I have always said ” I am a member of one of the greatest unions that made AMERICA”. Today I hide the fact that I am a member of local 2244. They shame the UAW as a whole, and the membership of that local. What have we become?

  5. Jason says:

    JD – Word.

    Vic – Agreed.

    Joe and Jeffrey – Thanks for your comments. I appreciate them especially since they’re coming from NUMMI workers.

  6. […] 80% of the UAW members upset with their union, this past Sunday, the Union of Ailing Workplaces (aka UAW) held a membership meeting that turned […]

  7. […] 80% of the UAW members upset with their union, this past Sunday, the Union of Ailing Workplaces (aka UAW) held a membership meeting that turned […]

  8. […] make the ironies even sweeter, more than 80% of the Union NUMMI workers are upset with the UAW and the UAW has said it will take 3% off the top […]

  9. john says:

    Its 2013. April 1 is a few days away and not once did anyone see Toyotas people at one stops or traing centers. The Union was all we seen. I guess there’s no ratings in that.

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