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NUMMI workers OK severance deal


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NUMMI workers OK severance deal

Each to get at least $21,175 payment



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FREMONT, Calif. -- Union workers at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., known as NUMMI, have voted for a proposed severance package for the 4,600 workers about to lose their jobs when the plant closes, according to a UAW official.

The UAW said in a statement Thursday that 90% of the workers who voted were in favor of the package.

A representative of the union's headquarters in Detroit would not say how many members voted or release details of the pact.

Before Wednesday's vote, which was completed at 7 p.m., leaders of the UAW local at the plant said they encouraged members to ratify the agreement despite being disappointed at aspects of the deal.

They wouldn't discuss the proposal in detail, though Javier Contreras, chairman of the bargaining committee, said the union was able to add $28 million to the severance package during negotiations, bringing the total to more than $200 million.

He said each worker would get a minimum payout of $21,175.

NUMMI, a joint venture of General Motors and Toyota, is to close on April 1. Union leaders reached the severance deal with NUMMI on Monday.

"While this is not the outcome we had hoped for, the terms of this agreement will certainly help cushion the impact for our members," UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said in a statement.

GM pulled out last year and is liquidating its stake in the factory. Toyota announced in August that without GM, it could not sustain the factory and it would halt production at the plant, which makes the Corolla sedan and Tacoma pickup.

Over the past several weeks, state officials and union leaders have pressed Toyota to keep the plant open.

They've said its closure would be devastating to California's economy, already hit hard by the global downturn, and have a ripple effect on jobs throughout the state.

A report prepared for a commission set up by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer to study the issue said about 25,000 people, including parts suppliers, could lose their jobs as a result of the plant closing.

Officials have also tried to appeal to the public relations aspect.

They've said as Toyota looks to rebuild consumer confidence after several recalls, the worst thing the company could do is move production elsewhere.



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