About 7,500 workers leaving GM voluntarily
DETROIT - About 7,500
Also yesterday, Chrysler LLC said it would extend its deadline to entice blue-collar workers to leave. The old deadline was to have been today.
GM offered $20,000 cash and a $25,000 voucher to buy a car to all of its 62,400 hourly US employees in an effort to further trim its blue-collar workforce to match reduced sales.
Most of those who chose to leave took early-retirement offers, said a person familiar with the numbers who did not want to be identified because the breakdown had not been made public. There were very few who took the buyouts, the person said.
The deadline to decide was Tuesday, and many of the workers waited until the last minute to turn in their paperwork, the person said. The workers have seven days from the date they turn in the paperwork to rescind their decision, so many will have to decide by Tuesday.
For those that will leave, the effective date of their departure is no later than Wednesday, GM said.
Both GM and Chrysler are living on a total of $17.4 billion in government loans and are seeking another $21.6 billion. The Obama administration's auto task force has indicated it may offer more aid, but further concessions are possible from both the companies' stakeholders.
Both companies have to submit completed restructuring plans to the federal government by March 31.
The latest round of buyouts and early retirements at GM was the third for the company since 2006. From all three offers, more than 60,000 workers have decided to leave the company.
The departures and other actions taken by the company "will help ensure the long-term viability and future success of General Motors," Gary Cowger, group vice president of global manufacturing, said in a statement.
GM has enough workers on layoff to fill all 7,500 vacancies created by the departures, the person familiar with GM's plans said. But if demand increases and workers are needed, the company could hire new people at a new lower-tier wage of about $14 per hour, the person said.
The UAW agreed to the lower-tier wage in its landmark 2007 contract with the automakers.
More workers agreed to leave the company at plants that are slated for closure, according to the GM statement. The company said 624 workers took the offers at its Janesville, Wis., sport utility vehicle plant, which closed last year. The plant employed 1,200 people. At the Grand Rapids, Mich., metal stamping plant, which also is slated for closure by year-end, 596 of 2,700 workers took the offers.
At Chrysler, uncertainty over whether the company would get further government aid kept many workers from making a decision on the offer.
UAW officials notified factory workers yesterday that the offers had been extended.