Only 162 Arlington GM Hourly Workers to Leave

Approximately 7,500 U.S. workers accept early retirement, buyout offers

About 12 percent of General Motors' hourly workers accepted offers to leave the company, but only 162 of those will be leaving the automaker's Arlington plant.

The company said Thursday about 7,500 workers accepted early retirement packages and buyouts.

General Motors Corp. had offered $20,000 cash and a $25,000 vehicle voucher to all of its 64,400 hourly U.S. employees.

But very few workers opted for the buyouts, a person familiar with the numbers told the Associated Press. Most of the workers who are leaving instead chose to take early retirement offers.

The Arlington plant employs about 2,280 United Auto Workers members.

The automaker said it will fill the 7,500 vacancies with current employees. The company has enough workers on layoff to fill all of them, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

If new employees are needed, GM said it will hire workers at a lower-tier wage of about $14 per hour.

The assembly plant in Arlington already employs some workers at the lower wage tier. The tier-two employees in Arlington start at $14.12 per hour and cap out at $15.70, according to a worker.

More workers agreed to leave from plants that are closing.

In a statement, GM said 624 workers from the Janesville, Wis., plant that closed last year accepted offers. And 596 workers at a metal-stamping plant in Grand Rapids, Mich., that will close this year took offers.

But the announcement also shows that the troubled automaker has its work cut out for itself if it wants to persuade more longtime workers to leave, the New York Times pointed out.

Even though more than 7,000 workers are leaving, more than 14,000 workers who are eligible for retirement are sticking around.

Thousands more left in previous attrition programs: about 34,000 in 2006 and 19,000 last year.

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 finalized restructuring plans to the federal government by March 31.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us