Dozens of workers rallied on Friday to save a California auto plant where more than 4,600 people could lose their jobs if Toyota stops production at the end of March.
Labour leaders said closing the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant - the sole remaining automobile assembly plant in California - would be the worst thing Toyota could do while it struggles to regain consumer confidence after several recalls.
“Killing American jobs won’t help Toyota regain public support or revive its sales. Toyota must reverse its decision,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
In recent weeks, Toyota’s reputation has been hurt by the global recall of 8.5 million vehicles.
Michael Goss, a spokesman for Toyota, said in a statement that there were no plans to change the company’s decision to stop ordering from the plant after March 31.
He also defended the company’s record on jobs, saying Toyota directly and indirectly employs more than 1,72,000 workers and dealership personnel in North America, including several thousand in California.
The demonstration kicked off a nationwide campaign urging the Japanese carmaker to save the plant, said Bob King, vice president of the United Auto Workers. The rally was held inside a nearby union hall.
The Fremont facility was established in 1984 as a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors Corp. Toyota builds its Corolla cars and Tacoma pickup trucks at the plant.