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GM Offers Buyout To Skilled Trade Workers

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On: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 12:06PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM Offers Buyout To Skilled Trade Workers

The United Auto Workers Union (UAW) and General Motors officials announced on December 13th  that the company will be offering a onetime $60,000 payment to entice skilled trade workers into retirement, or to encourage workers to leave the company. The offer is being made to workers presently employed at one of the 13 plants where GM plans to trim its workforce.

The buyout will be on the table until it expires on March 1st, 2011. This announcement comes just days after GM CEO Dan Akerson made it clear that he wants to boost certain key executive salaries to keep them from taking better paying positions with competitors.

Of the 13 applicable plants; 8 are scheduled to be closed, and two are currently on standby. The Michigan plants in Pontiac and Grand Blanc are the only two automotive plants currently producing cars and trucks.

The Orion, Michigan plant is where the all new Buick Verano compact sedan will be produced. Production of this vehicle is scheduled to begin around June or July of 2011. That same plant will also start making the Chevrolet Sonic, which is set to replace the Aveo in the Chevy lineup.

According to GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter, the company has a few thousand more skilled workers than is necessary to carry out its future corporate plans. General Motors currently employs around 53,000 production and skilled trade workers in the United States. The number of skilled trade workers alone amounts to around 10,000.

“The Big 3 have historically used special attrition programs like these to address excess manpower’, said Carpenter. “We are not going to be offering these across the board, but as we continue to address out staffing requirements, it might still be a viable tool.”

Prior to its corporate bankruptcy, GM would run similar types of buyouts and early retirement programs, but this is the first such incident since the corporate restructuring plan occured.

Skilled workers being granted the retirement offer are represented by the UAW. Notoriously, skilled workers make higher wages on the assembly line because of their specialized training.

The announcement of this cost-cutting tactic comes shortly after GM said that plans were in place to hire on an additional 1,000 engineers and researchers to prepare specific electric vehicles (EVs) for production.

In 2011 General Motors and the UAW are scheduled to commence negotiations to attempt to negotiate a new wage and benefits packages.


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