Leta Stagnaro at Ohlone College's Newark Center for Health Care & Technology says, factoring in re-training, it will be six months to a year before the former NUMMI employees will be ready to start looking for jobs. No one knows what kinds of jobs or how many will be available then, given the prolonged recession and the prospects of economic recovery.
As laid-off workers gathered at a number of coffee shops for farewell breakfasts this morning, they plunked down some of the last cash they will be able to spend for the foreseeable future, even with the retention checks they will be getting in a few weeks from NUMMI for staying until the plant closed today.
Francisco Macias, an 11.5 -year employee, says he has already contacted his lender about a modification to his monthly $1,700 mortgage payment. He has four children, ranging from three to nine years old. After taxes, his retention check will yield about $25,000 for living expenses as he learns new skills to find a new job. He and his family have been used to $75,000 in annual earnings from NUMMI.
Michelle Garrett, an eight-year employee, is moving from Pleasanton to Stockton to save rent money. She has a 14-year-old daughter. She estimates the move will save her about $1,000 per month in rent, although she does not relish moving to where she knows no one.
Macias and Garrett, along with other co-workers, all say they will have to cut back drastically on spending. In the case of Michelle Abad, a nine-year NUMMI worker, that means no more weekend spending sprees at her favorite department stores. She has a daughter in college and tuition to pay.
Fremont City Manager Fred Diaz says it is difficult to project what the financial impact will be short-term with NUMMI closing. Certainly, sales tax revenue and property taxes will be impacted. The city is working with NUMMI on long-range plans to re-utilize the Fremont Blvd. plant site.
Retail and restaurant owners in Fremont all lament the loss of NUMMI worker. George Matheou, owner of The Country Way restaurant two exits from the plant, says he sees a minimum of 50 NUMMI workers daily as customers. At $10 per person, that will be a loss of $500 per day. The restaurant employs 35 people, and they will be impacted as well with reduced tip income.
We'll have more on the financial consequences of NUMMI's closure later online and on ABC7 News at 6.