Workers at closed US Toyota plant reach settlement

Toyota made its small Corolla sedan and its small pickup truck Tacoma at the plant, and GM produced the Pontiac Vibe there.

Toyota Motor Corp. and the joint venture plant it operated with General Motors Co. have reached a $6 million settlement with former workers at the now-shuttered California factory.

The payment settles a lawsuit brought by workers who were on medical leave when the San Francisco-area plant shut down in March 2010. They claimed they received smaller severance payouts than other workers received. The settlement represents one of the last complications from Toyota’s decision to close its only U.S. plant where workers were represented by the United Auto Workers union.

The Fremont, Calif., plant opened in 1984 as a joint venture between GM and Toyota. The factory was the first auto manufacturing plant in the United States for Toyota, and it gave GM a chance to study its Japanese rival’s vaunted lean manufacturing system.

The $6 million settlement was reached between the joint venture, known as New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., better known as NUMMI.

Separately, claims of discrimination against NUMMI were also settled with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC had found in June 2010 that NUMMI discriminated against the disabled workers.

Toyota contributed $2.2 million toward the settlement and NUMMI contributed $3.8 million, according to a settlement filed with a U.S. District Court in California.


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