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GM 19,000 Hourly Workers Have Taken Buyouts

May 29, 2008
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General Motors said Thursday, May 29, that about 19,000 hourly employees have taken the latest round of buyouts this year. Most will leave the automaker by July 1.

“Despite significant challenges in the U.S. market, we continue to reshape our business for long-term success,” Troy Clarke, president of GM North America, said in a statement. “This attrition program gives us an opportunity to restructure our U.S. workforce through the entry-level wage and benefit structure for new hourly employees.”

GM said that whenever possible, current employees will fill the openings created as a result of the buyouts, in compliance with the national agreement it reached with the UAW in the fall.

New employees will be hired at the entry-level wage and benefit structure negotiated last year with the union.

The acceptance rate for the cost-cutting program was lower than a similar offer GM made in 2006 for its union workers and broadly in line with expectations.

UAW president Ron Gettelfinger said in February that he expected fewer than 20,000 GM workers to accept buyouts. Gettelfinger said then that he expected economic uncertainty and other concerns to limit the number of union workers taking the offers to leave the payroll.

GM’s statements come as another UAW local said it reached a tentative local agreement with the automaker.

UAW Local 1112 in Lordstown, Ohio, said in a posting on its Web site that an agreement was reached late Wednesday night. The Lordstown assembly plant makes the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5.

The posting said highlights of the contract were being compiled and that the local is in the process of scheduling dates for a vote on the deal. A GM spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The Lordstown plant is not included in GM’s list of the 19 plants still stopped or slowed after the three-month-long UAW strike against American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. Six of those plants remain shut down, GM said.

Filed by Craig Trudell of Automotive News, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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