GM to offer buyouts to all hourly employees

Published 11:15 am Tuesday, February 3, 2009

General Motors Corp. will offer buyouts to all of its hourly employees, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday, as the troubled automaker continues to slash costs.

GM spokesman Tony Sapienza said the buyouts will mainly target GM’s 22,000 retirement-eligible hourly employees, though any union employee can take the offer.

News of the buyouts first broke on Monday. A union official told The Associated Press then that GM would offer $20,000 in cash and a $25,000 car voucher for workers who retire early and those who simply leave the company. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because workers were not yet notified of the packages.

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GM’s operations in Ohio include a factory in Lordstown that produces the Cobalt and Pontiac G5 fuel-efficient cars.

Sapienza confirmed that the offer will consist of a car voucher and a one-time cash payment, though declined to offer more details, saying that employees will be informed of the specifics of the offer on Friday. However, he said the latest offer would be less generous than previous buyouts.

Sapienza said employees will have until March 24 to decide whether to accept a buyout. Employees who accept the buyout will leave the company by April 1.

The buyouts are the latest round of cost-cutting measures by GM, which is racing to piece together a plan for returning to viability by the middle of the month. The Detroit-based company is scheduled to report January auto sales later Tuesday, and analysts are expecting a steep year-over-year decline.

Shares of GM fell 15 cents, or 5.2 percent, to $2.74 in morning trading.