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GM presents buyouts to the ‘bulk’ of U.S. waged workers

March 10, 2023: General Motors is offering voluntary buyouts to a “significant” of its 58,000 U.S. white-collar employees as it aims to slash $2 billion in structural costs over the coming two years, according to the letter sent to workers from CEO Mary Barra.

The “Voluntary Separation Program,” or VSP, will be given to all U.S. salaried employees who have lived five or more years at the company as of June 30. Outside of the U.S., the automaker offers buyouts to executives with nearly two years at the company.

According to a public filing Thursday, GM expects to take a pretax charge of increased to $1.5 billion related to the buyouts. The majority of the orders are anticipated to be all-cash and occur during the first half of the year, the company stated.

In the letter Thursday, Barra said the program is “designed to accelerate in the U.S.,” assisting the firm in potentially avoiding “involuntary actions” in the future. The buyout deal comes after the Detroit automaker said it would terminate about 500 salaried positions globally last week.

GM last offered an extensive buyout program for roughly 18,000 North American salaried employees in 2018-2019.

“Employees are strongly encouraged to consider the program,” GM said in an emailed statement on Thursday. “By permanently reducing structured costs, we can develop vehicle profitability and remain nimble in a surging competitive market.”

GM stated that the $2 billion cost-cutting program in January, saying 30% and 50% of the savings were expected during 2023. At the time, executives said they were deciding headcount reductions through attrition instead of layoffs.

U.S. employees approved for the buyout will be granted pay for the month for every year they were in for 12 months and COBRA health coverage. They also will get prorated team performance bonuses and outplacement services. Global employees will receive a base salary, incentives, COBRA and outplacement services.

Eligible workers interested in the program must sign up by March 24. Those who choose to take a voluntary package and are allowed will depart by June 30.

A spokeswoman declined to disclose how many employees the company targets to accept the buyout packages. Lastly, according to public filings, GM employed 81,000 salaried employees worldwide.

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GM presents buyouts to the ‘bulk’ of U.S. waged workers