Toyota Hiring More US Autoworkers, Yet Criticism Abounds
Yesterday, Toyota officially began hiring at their soon-to-open Blue Springs, Mississippi assembly plant. It is expected that Toyota will directly employ 2,000 workers, with thousands of other new jobs being created as a result of new investment. While this is great news for Mississippi – one of the poorest states in the US – this move is not without criticism.
Toyota critics argue that Toyota’s 2,000 new hires aren’t actually “new” at all – that they are just cheaper replacements for NUMMI workers who were let go earlier this year.
Critics Attack Toyota’s Mississippi Venture
People who have been following Toyota will recognize that the new Blue Ridge plant will replace Corolla production that was lost when NUMMI was closed earlier this year. Many critics feel that Toyota shouldn’t get any credit for hiring new workers because they are merely replacing NUMMI jobs that were lost. NUMMI’s closure resulted in about 4,000 assembly jobs lost, and Mississippi brings back about half that number.
NUMMI also assembled the Tacoma, which Toyota recently began producing in San Antonio. Toyota hired 1,000 additional assembly workers at the Texas plant for this purpose, so the total count is: NUMMI – 4,000 assembly jobs lost. San Antonio and Blue Ridge – 3,000 assembly jobs gained.
But that’s not the whole story.
NUMMI was a joint venture between GM and Toyota, and NUMMI’s closure was a direct result of GM’s decision to abandon the plant during their bankruptcy. While Toyota definitely deserves some of the blame for NUMMI jobs lost, it’s a little too simplistic to blame Toyota exclusively for NUMMI.
Those who criticize Toyota for NUMMI job losses seem to be glossing over huge job losses brought on by Ford, GM, and Chrysler since the recession began in 2007. According to AOL’s Daily Finance, GM has been the “king” of layoffs since the recession began with more than 100k workers fired. Ford laid off nearly 16k workers in this same period, and Chrysler let go more than 13k. It would seem then that Toyota’s decision to close NUMMI and lay off 4,000 assembly workers (brought on by GM’s bankruptcy) should be compared to immensely larger layoffs at GM, Ford, and Chrysler.
At worst, Toyota has held serve by closing the NUMMI plant and hiring new workers in San Antonio and Mississippi.
What do you think?
Filed Under: Auto News