General Motors offered 12,000 salaried employees the chance to take a buyout package at the end of October, but according to a report from the Detroit Free Press on Monday, few have raised their hands.
GM employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the publication GM sought 7,000 cuts with the buyout package, but roughly 4,000 have opted for the voluntary redundancy. Managers held department meetings last week to help employees decide whether he or she would opt for the buyout package. GM denied knowledge of any company-wide meetings.
If the workforce counts are accurate, GM layoffs could total some 3,000 employees at the start of 2019. CEO Mary Barra said in a company-wide email that introduced the buyout option that the automaker must prepare now for a future downturn and work in the present to cut excess costs and raw material prices surge.
According to one of the sources, managers weren’t forcing employees to take the buyout and said no one will be threatened with a layoff. He or she added GM hasn’t fully decided what it will do if it does not reach the 7,000-employee buyout target. Another source said GM layoffs will happen quickly.
The buyout process will close on November 29 and layoffs will begin in January. Managers reportedly already have started to make their cut lists. Crucially, GM will not accept buyouts for critical positions such as workers from the calibration and engines group.
Jon Gabrielsen, an economist and adviser for the auto industry, forecasted GM will cut 7,000 salaried positions from its Detroit headquarters over the course of the next three years. Additionally, he expected hourly production worker jobs will also be cut by about 7,000 positions. The forecasted production cuts come as the UAW gears up to negotiate a new contract with GM in September 2019. And plants such as the Lordstown, Ohio, facility hang in the balance.