Thousands of NUMMI Alums Still Unemployed

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Jose Aceves waits in line to talk with a recruiter from Tesla Motors. (Adelaide Chen/KQED)

Over 2,000 NUMMI assembly workers still looking for work engaged in hollers, handshakes and hugs at a job fair Wednesday at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.  KQED sent reporter Adelaide Chen to cover this event, coordinated by workforce investment boards from several counties where NUMMI workers live.

The plant closed in April. Chen found nobody grumbling over having to wait an hour in line to talk to a recruiter from Tesla Motors.  Jose Aceves, 43, a San Lorenzo resident who worked at NUMMI since he was 18, said he applied online before the fair, but wanted to meet face-to-face with a Tesla recruiter.  He figures he can float financially for another six months.  Like other workers, he got a severance package; but also, his wife is working.

NUMMI workers review their resumes with job counselors. (Adelaide Chen/KQED)

Not every household has a second income earner.

"I used to go visit my relatives every weekend. I can't do that anymore because gas is too expensive," said Umberto Pulido, who worked on the NUMMI assembly line for nine years. The Union City resident is thinking of taking a trucking job for a year if he can't find anything else.  Then, reapply for Tesla when it's up and running.

If electric vehicles gave off fumes, you'd swear the state is inhaling big time.  But hey, Californians are trying to focus on anything that generates economic growth.  (Sorry, I'll stop with the puns now.) On a bipartisan 28-3 vote, the State Senate Wednesday approved legislation that would allow the latest generation of low-emission vehicles access to the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) highway lanes.  Once received, the Governor will have 12 days to sign or veto the bill.

SB 535, authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), would provide up to 40,000 vehicles, such as plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell cars, access to the HOV lane during commuting hours until 2015.

The bill would also continue to allow access for all-electrics for another four years -and extend the law that allows access for basic hybrids for an additional six months.  Under current law, the basic hybrid access expires at the end of this year.

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About Rachael Myrow

Rachael Myrow hosts the California Report for KQED. Over 17 years in public radio, she's worked for Marketplace and KPCC, filed for NPR and The World, and developed a sizable tea collection that's become the envy of the KQED newsroom. She specializes in politics, economics and history in California - but for emotional balance, she also covers food and its relationship to health and happiness.

Comments (1)

  1. Does it make sense to have the lowest emmission vehicles move the fastest on the freeways? I realize this is an incentive to buy one, but it always seems strange to me to see a driver only hybrid running along at 50-60 when the SUV’s and trucks are sitting in lines creating as much polution as possible.

    Seems a conundrum, no? But maybe its just me.