Workers at GM's Lordstown Assembly plant are taking early retirements and contract buyouts, hoping to avoid layoffs as the second shift at that plant is being eliminated.

The Lordstown, OH, plant builds the Chevrolet Cruze sedan. Sales of that car have been falling, from a high of 273,060 in 2015 to just 184,751 last year. So GM announced in April that it would be eliminating the second shift at the plant, which could lead to a layoff of up to 1,500 workers. About half the plant's workforce.

According to the Youngstown Vindicator, 595 production and skilled workers have opted to take a special attrition program that gives them a lump sum or early retirement. The Vindicator reports that early retirees will get a cash payment of $60,000, and workers who take a buyout can get $5,000 to $50,000 depending on seniority. The attrition program is expected to ease the impact of the layoffs, although it's not yet clear what impact it will have.

"Obviously it's going to help retain some people," said UAW Local 1112 President David Green. "We want to retain as many members working as we can. For the people who leave, that should save the spot of someone else."

The second shift is set to end June 22nd. The plant lost its third shift in January 2018.

[source: Youngstown Vindicator]