GM in talks with UAW on lump-sum offer for hourly retirees

GM in talks with UAW on lump-sum offer for hourly retirees
Kevin Olsen
Automotive News | January 9, 2013 – 5:12 pm EST

General Motors is in discussions with the UAW on offering lump-sum pension payouts to hourly retirees in the United States.

GM CEO and Chairman Dan Akerson commented on the discussions at a briefing with reporters today at the company’s headquarters in Detroit.

“That is a discussion that we have to have with our UAW partners,” Akerson said in response to a question about how seriously GM is considering a lump sum buyout of hourly pensions. “We’ve discussed it with them and we’ll see where it goes.”

Dave Roman, a GM spokesman, confirmed the talks, Pension & Investments, a sister publication of Automotive News, reported.

GM — aiming to reduce its pension liabilities as part of ongoing efforts to build a more robust balance sheet — announced on June 1 it would offer 42,000 salaried retirees a lump-sum payment.

Another 76,000 salaried retirees, along with those who declined the lump sum, will receive annuity payments from Prudential as part of a transaction completed late last year that eliminated about $29 billion in pension liability.

About 30 percent of eligible salaried retirees accepted the automaker’s lump-sum pension offer, GM said in November.

It’s unclear if the discussions with the UAW involve retirees or former employees who are vested.

In labor negotiations through the years, the union has bargained vigorously to protect and enhance the pensions of GM’s active and retired hourly employees.

UAW spokeswoman Michele Martin did not return a call seeking comment.

GM’s hourly-rate employees pension plan, based in Detroit, had $60.4 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, 2011.

Mike Colias and David Phillips contributed to this report

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