Dumb, and smart things, to spend $54,000 severance on

Closed NUMMI auto plant
Closed NUMMI auto plant

An auto plant in Fremont, Calif. that may have saved the U.S. auto industry when it reorganized in 1984 is closing this week, giving its 3,700 union workers an average $54,000 severance as it lays them off.

The 4,700-employee plant, called the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or NUMMI, is closing Thursday as a joint venture of Toyota and General Motors. The average severance package is based on 15 years of service. At the top of the range -- workers with 25 years at the factory -- the package is $68,500.