It is hard to believe that it has almost been a week since I started the trip Japan as part of a delegation of folks called together by CA State Treasurer, Bill Lockyer. After our three-day trip, our works has, for the most part, been completed with the publishing of a report and visit to Japan to meet with Toyota Executives. There are a bunch of links below for you to check out, but here are just a few of my thoughts about the trip.
First, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the folks that participated on this trip. The great passion and depth of thought that were brought to the table were inspiring. The group was made of of folks who, not only are "players" in their respective worlds, but were simply good people to hang out with. In a day and age where it is so easy to box someone into some kind of image based on their profession or position, I was again reminded of the wonderful complexity that is the human experience. Of course I enjoyed the many side conversations with folks, but I was especially moved regarding the plight and possibilities of the United Auto Workers work force by getting to know both Ron Lopez, a NUMMI worker for the past 20+ years and Bob King, Vice President of the United Auto Workers. I am deeply grateful for the conversations shared over the trip. Thank you.
In terms of our main purpose there, I think we accomplished everything we had set out to do: mainly to bring some visibility to the situation within the Japanese public AND present our case to the Toyota Executives. The first was accomplished at a well-attended press-conference and the second during our face-to-face meeting with Toyota Executives: Atushi Nimi, Executive Vice President; Osamu Goto, General Manager, Overseas External Affairs; Masato Hotta, General Manager, North America Division; and Hiroshi Koyama, General Manager Affiliates Business Liaison, North America Division. During both the press conference and the actual meeting we each expressed a great respect for the Toyota "way" of doing business and our hope that Toyota would remain a successful and meaningful presence in Fremont and California. You can read the full press release, but suffice it to say, a breadth of opinions and perspectives where offered. We did not expect that there would be any change made at that meeting, but we were assured that our concerns and comments would be brought to Toyota
leadership. I think overall, we were happy with the response of both the executives and the Japanese press and look forward to some of the addition aspects of the campaign to save the NUMMI plant to take root and begin to move.
In terms of the Commission itself, I am not sure what our next steps are. For the most part think a bulk of our work is done, but I will still be "on call" for events and other responsibilities as I am available. Regardless of my future involvement, I do want to express my thanks to Bill Lockyer and the rest of the commission for inviting this religious leader to be part of the conversation.
You can find plenty of info online, but here are a few links that you may want to check out:
- My Previous NUMMI Posts [BLOG]
- Full Toyota NUMMI Commission Report – JAPANESE [PDF]
- Full Toyota NUMMI Commission Report – ENGLISH [PDF]
- Official Meeting Press Release [PDF]
- SF Chronicle Editorial on
NUMMI, March 7 [READ]
- Sacramento Bee Editorial [READ]
- Matt Werner's Thoughts and Links [BLOG]
Pictur3 #1, left to right:
- Ron Lopez, 20-year employee at NUMMI
- Tim Beaty, Teamsters, Director of Global
- Bob King, Vice President, UAW
- Fred Zuckerman, Teamsters Union 89, Automobile Transport
- Nina Moore, Director of Government and Community Affairs for the
Fremont Chamber of Commerce
- Ron Carver, Organizer
- Bruce Reyes-Chow AKA Me
- Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club
- Richard Holober, Executive Director, Consumer Federation of