GM offers buyout package to skilled trades workers

GM offers buyout package to skilled trades workers
David Barkholz
Automotive News | December 13, 2010 – 1:49 pm EST

DETROIT — General Motors Co. is offering skilled trades workers at 13 select plants $60,000 to retire or leave the company, UAW and GM officials said today.

Orion Township Assembly Plant, where GM will build its new Chevrolet Sonic subcompact next year, is one of the plants offering the buyout, said Mike Dunn, chairman of UAW Local 5960, which represents hourly workers at the suburban Detroit factory. The Sonic will replace the Aveo.

The offer expires March 1, 2011.

Eight of the 13 plants are closed or scheduled to close. The payments also are being offered to skilled trades workers at two GM plants on standby — Spring Hill (Tenn.) Assembly and Janesville (Wis.) Assembly — and two others that are in production, Pontiac (Mich.) Stamping and Grand Blanc (Mich.) Weld Tool Center.

GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter today confirmed that GM is offering an incentive program for skilled trades.

The automaker has “a few thousand” more skilled trades workers than are needed, she said. GM has about 53,000 skilled trades and production workers at its U.S. plants.

Before the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler Group, special retirement and buyout programs were regularly used to cut excess work force and production capacity. This is the first hourly buyout program since bankruptcy for GM.

The program will pay participants eligible to retire $60,000 to leave with full retirement benefits. There’s also a voluntary quit option for some skilled trades workers, who would get $60,000 while giving up retiree health care, post-employment life insurance and other benefits.

The other eligible plants are Grand Rapids Stamping, Livonia Powertrain, Mansfield Stamping, Willow Run Powertrain, Flint North Powertrain, Doraville Assembly, Shreveport Assembly, and Wilmington Assembly.

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