Stewart A. Alexander
For California Governor
Peace and Freedom Party 2010
September 05, 2009
Last week, Toyota made the announcement that it will discontinue manufacturing cars at the Fremont, California plant; Toyota’s decision will affect the 4,700 workers that are now employed at the plant and an additional 30,000 to 50,000 employees that work for the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) supply network.
During the 60s, 70’s and 80’s, the automotive industry provided good paying jobs for hundreds of thousands of California workers. Since the 80’s, the big three automobile manufacturers began moving out of California to cut production cost and to find cheaper labor markets. The NUMMI plant is now the only automotive plant on the West Coast; the plant pays an average production wage of $65,000 annually.
When the U.S. government took control of General Motors, forcing the company into bankruptcy, GM emerge from bankruptcy by shedding old debts, terminating contract with thousands of suppliers, closing plants and cutting labor cost; this also included withdrawing from the partnership with Toyota at the NUMMI plant. General Motors has received the lion’s share of taxpayer’s dollars to remain viable as a company, and now the thanks that taxpayers have received for the bailouts has been General Motor’s bailout on their commitment to Toyota and 4,700 automobile workers in Fremont, California.
Since the departure of General Motors, Toyota wants to close the Fremont NUMMI plant and outsource its work to other non-union factories in the U.S. and outside the U.S. In December 2008, the workers at Republic Windows, located in Chicago occupied their plant to defend their jobs; the labor action was organized by the United Electrical Workers. The owners of Republic Windows wanted to shut the plant and open in another location with non-union labor. The owners were in the process of moving the machinery for the new operations when the worker’s occupation took place. Eventually, with much regional, national and international support, the workers and union were able to force Bank of America to provide money for their layoff and were able to keep the plant open as a union plant.
Workers around the world are facing similar shutdowns and closures like the workers at NUMMI and have taken direct action to defend their jobs and their families. The Peace and Freedom Party based in Oakland, California, support workers when they occupy their factories to stop the closure of work facilities. The PFP is strongly opposed to Toyota closing the NUMMI plant, which even California state officials have stated will financially devastate thousands of families throughout Northern California.
Steve Zeltzer, a national labor organizer, says, “Toyota can be forced to keep the plant open if working people in California and around the country are willing to struggle and organize against these companies. This closure is an attack on all working people in Northern California and throughout the U.S. Solidarity is the solution to defend our jobs and families.”
Mary McIlroy, a candidate in the California 10th Congressional District race, has strongly opposed the closure of the NUMMI plant; the plant closure would affect tens of thousands of workers in her district which covers Alameda and other surrounding counties. Mary McIlroy, the Peace and Freedom Party candidate, says, “It is not too late to save these jobs and save the plant from closing.” Toyota has scheduled the plant closure for March 2010.
For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander http://www.stewartalexandercares.com/
California’s Unemployment at 60 Year High, at Depression Levels http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/08/30/18620169.php
Peace and Freedom Party Home Page http://www.peaceandfreedom.org/home/
Stewart Alexander will enter 2010 race for California Governor http://banderasnews.com/0901/nw-stewartalexander02.htm