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GM to lay off about 1,000

Thursday, September 10, 2009

GM to lay off about 1,000

White-collar jobs across the board targeted; most cuts expected to be completed by Oct. 1

Robert Snell / The Detroit News

General Motors Co. needs to lay off about 1,000 white-collar workers this month because only 1,900 accepted early retirement and buyout offers, the automaker said Wednesday.

The 1,000 involuntary cuts are part of GM’s plan to slash 6,000 salaried jobs by the end of the year and most will hit southeastern Michigan communities with GM operations such as Detroit, Warren, Milford and Pontiac. The area already is reeling from pending GM factory closures and blue-collar job cuts from earlier this year.

GM will start notifying the 1,000 workers in coming weeks and the job cuts will reach across the automaker’s operations, spokesman Tom Wilkinson said.

The workers, most of whom will be gone by Oct. 1, will receive severance packages that give salaried workers up to six months pay and benefits, while executive employees can qualify for up to a year’s worth.

The workers also can chose an early retirement incentive that, for example, would let an eligible worker retire at 58 with benefits they would have received at age 62.

"We were encouraged by the number of people who took early retirements and buyouts," Wilkinson said.

The automaker outlined plans earlier this year to eliminate more than 6,000 white-collar jobs by the end of 2009. GM started the year with 29,650 white-collar workers and wants to end it with 23,500.

The white-collar work force is just one area where GM continues to make cuts after emerging from bankruptcy court July 10 having shed billions in debt, brands and factories.

Last month, GM said it also may lay off hourly workers this year after about 6,000 employees accepted its most-recent buyout and early retirement offers, bringing the total number of hourly workers taking the deals to about 13,000.

GM has said it wants to eliminate 21,000 hourly jobs this year, but that figure may need to be revised depending on whether vehicle sales improve this year and if some of the 13,000 retirement-eligible United Auto Workers members retire. Since 2006, about 66,000 U.S. hourly workers have accepted buyouts and early retirements.

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