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GM Says 600 UAW Workers Have Changed Their Minds on Buyout

General Motors said Friday, April 3, that about 600 hourly workers who tentatively accepted a special attrition retirement or buyout package last month have changed their minds.

April 6, 2009
General Motors said Friday, April 3, that about 600 hourly workers who tentatively accepted a special attrition retirement or buy-out package last month have changed their minds.

About 7,600 workers initially accepted the offers, said Tom Wilkinson, GM spokesman. Many of them had until March 31 to reconsider, he said. Most of the remaining 7,000 workers left the company by April 1, GM said.

GM was pleased with the initial number who had accepted. In a progress report to the U.S. Treasury, GM said the 7,600 acceptances were 1,000 more than anticipated. But even with 600 reconsidering, the results are still good, Wilkinson said.

This was always envisioned as an important step toward where we need to get,” Wilkinson says. “These are 7,600 individual decisions and individual people and individual families. We’re not disappointed. It just is what it is.”

At a press conference Monday, April 6, GM’s new CEO, Fritz Henderson, hinted that there might be more special attrition programs in the future. That’s because President Barack Obama gave GM 60 days to restructure the company or face possible bankruptcy. To achieve that kind of restructuring, Henderson said, GM will have to cut deeper.

Henderson hinted there might also be more factory closures. In its February 17 viability plan submitted to the U.S. Treasury, GM proposed closing 14 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. by 2012. That’s five more than it included in its December plan given to the government. Henderson said he expects that number could rise.

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

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