GM Starts the Formal Process of Cutting, Promises Jobs for Hourly Workers

It won’t be a joyous Christmas for many General Motors workers. As it embarks on a wide-ranging cost-cutting plan, GM plans to cull six models and mothball five plants in the U.S. and Canada, eliminating up to 15,000 jobs in the process.

On Friday, the automaker said the process of notifying federal agencies of its plans has begun. It also offered up a glimmer for nervous workers.

While the company’s plan will see product dry up at three assembly plants and two transmission plants by the end of next year, some workers will have an opportunity to pick up stakes and settle down at another plant, GM said.

Some 2,800 hourly workers at the four U.S. plants (Detroit-Hamtramck, Lordstown Assembly, Baltimore Operations, and Warren Transmission) are eligible for jobs elsewhere, as 2,700 positions remain open at the company’s other plants. Those positions exist at seven plants located in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, and Texas.

The automaker said 1,100 workers at the soon-to-be-shuttered plants have already volunteered for a transfer, while 1,200 workers are eligible for retirement.

GM earned no shortage of backlash after announcing the closures — most notably from President Donald Trump. The company’s now trying to frame its decision in the most positive terms possible. Speaking to Reuters, a GM spokesman said the company’s confident all hourly workers can find work if they’re willing to move, adding that some salaried workers “will have opportunities at other GM locations.”

Attrition factors into GM’s predictions.

Given the sparse production landscape north of the border, GM Canada could not make similar assurances. It told workers at Oshawa Assembly Friday that the company “committed to provide financial support to help its employees with retraining and other assistance that will help them be prepared for more than 2,400 good, available new jobs estimated to be open in the Durham Region area in 2019 and 2020.”

Those jobs exist in the local community, at GM Canada, or at GM dealers.

“My priority is to have a transition plan for every Oshawa Assembly employee,” said GM Canada president and managing director, Travis Hester, in a company release. “We will work with our community colleges, universities, the government, and all interested local employers, to make this happen and we are committing millions of dollars from GM Canada to support this effort.”

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC

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