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UAW OKs Severance In Nummi Closing

Union at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. voted in favor of proposed severance package for 4,600 workers about to lose their jobs when the plant closes.

FREMONT, Calif. (AP) -- The union that represents workers at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., known as Nummi, have voted in favor of a proposed severance package for the 4,600 workers about to lose their jobs when the plant closes, according to a United Auto Workers official.

Though unable to provide the final vote count or additional details, spokesman Mike Roth confirmed late Wednesday workers had ratified the package. Roth said he was unable to discuss additional details because of a gag order.

Before Wednesday's vote, which was completed at 7 p.m., leaders of the local United Auto Workers chapter 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 over $200 million. He said each worker would get a minimum payout of $21,175.

GM pulled out last year and is liquidating its stake. 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 recent report prepared for a commission set up by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer to study the issue said about 25,000 people, including 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.

Before the vote was finalized Wednesday, union leaders blasted Toyota.

"We brought them success and now we have been betrayed," said Sergio Santos, president of UAW Local 2244.

Santos said the deal also includes a clause that prohibits the union from talking about the agreement or Toyota.

Santos did not immediately return a call late Wednesday seeking comment.

Mike Goss, a spokesman for Toyota, declined to comment while workers were still voting. Toyota said earlier this month that it will spend $250 million assisting employees at the factory.

He did not immediately return a call late Wednesday seeking comment.

A message left for Lance Tomasu, a Nummi spokesman, wasn't immediately returned.

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