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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Madame Guillotine at GM

Driving in to work today, the local news was reporting that GM salaried employees had been told to cancel vacation plans to come in today ("Black Tuesday"), and they had also been told to drive their GM vehicles to work.

The "drive your GM vehicle to work" part sounds strange and ominous. Is the point of this to shame GM employees who don't have company vehicles? If any GM guys read this blog, can you comment?

I have heard that the cuts today are a relatively small number, less than 500 employees, and that more firings* will come in April.

Update: As this post from GMInsideNews shows, GM was in fact repossessing lease cars on the spot. Cold.
Black Tuesday: Most of the conference rooms booked by human resources. Cabs scheduled to arrive in the morning to take those home with company vehicles that will no longer be employed and able to drive home. Have resume handy, you may interview for your own job. Those traveling or on vacation were asked to return to be available at work on Tuesday.

*"Layoffs" are when hourly unionized workers are told not to come to work, but still collect a large portion of their pay due to union benefits, and their contract. Salaried workers are not laid off, they are fired.


Anonymous said...

Seems to me they have been asked to drive their company-issued vehicles to work so they can hand over the keys. Maybe they'll get a conciliatory pair of sneakers for the walk home.

Anonymous said...

Didn't happen that way. 8th levels laid off keep their car for a month. 1 month salary and benefits per year of service up to 15 years. All were escorted out immediately, though, after consultation with HR, executives and reps from outplacement. Only way to know for sure if someone is gone is to check their cube.

I know. I was there.

Anonymous said...

According to sources this is not the end. Additional cuts are planned in the near future to reach the 7% cut that is needed. But what get's me is the article in autonews today that GM is going to build a brand new plant.... IN MEXICO.

How can this be justifed with all the plant closings and people being seperated here in the states?

GM to build a new plant in Mexico
Jamie LaReau | | Automotive News / March 30, 2006 - 8:15 am

DETROIT -- General Motors will start construction on a new assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, sometime in May. GM will build compact and sub-compact vehicles at the new facility to be sold only in Mexico, says Carlos Gelista, director of public relations and government relations for GM Mexico.

The plant, which should be running sometime in 2008, will assemble about 30 vehicles per hour and employee about 1,800 people, Gelista says.

The cost to construct and equip the new plant will be between $600 million to $650 million. Part of that will be paid by the Mexican government, but Gelista declined to say how much.

You may e-mail Jamie LaReau at

Anonymous said...

This is inside the range of standard whacking techniques in American industry. I had worked as an R&D engineer for a chemical company for about 35 years, got called home from a trip to a plant, and got The Message. The difference was that I had six weeks to continue working, presumably to assure a smooth transition. My pension started as soon as the job ended, but my pay continued for another 15 months or so. Yeah, I'd have preferred to continue in my job, but there is life after Big Industry. I'm having a ball teaching engineering. Pay sucks, but, with the pension and thirty-something years of contributing to a 401k or its predecessor, income really isn't an issue.

Others at my old company got whacked slightly differently. Some got walked out the door. Some got to continue working for up to nearly two years so they could pass a milestone, a significant change in their pensions or retirement medical coverage.

Did it work for the company? In the short term it sure did. Profits are up considerably, but R&D has been decimated. Or, I should say, has been decimated in the U.S. The company is building a Chinese plant complex which, if they have their heads on straight, will include a low cost, high output R&D lab. I don’t have tight enough continuing ties to the company to know if that is happening or not.

tech98 said...

The way corporate America treats its employees, they deserve all the misery that has befallen them and more.

Sorry that it affects the real lives of diligent employees and not just the executive mercenary assholes.

Anonymous said...

The whole management issue really bugs me. It sure seems that the majority of management in the US today is mining the large corporations to generate personal wealth. I don't believe the line about executives increasing shareholder wealth.
I personally think the corporate ownership rules should change. I have a signinificant amount of stock that I own through my pension fund and 401K. However, because the 401K is owned through mutual funds and the pension is managed by the company, I, the ultimate owner do not have any votes regarding the board or the executives in those companies.
I want my votes! If stock is owned in my name throught the proxies, I want to vote against every perk senior management and the board gets!