Louisiana GM Plant Sees 215 Leave

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) -- The General Motors Co. plant in Shreveport, which is scheduled to close no later than June 2012, saw 215 workers take the latest round of early retirement and buyout offers, the retooling automaker said Monday.

The workers were among about 6,000 blue-collar employees who decided to leave the company in the latest round of cutbacks. But the company will still need to cut about 7,500 workers to reach its goal of a 40,500-worker payroll -- less than a tenth of the number employed in 1979.

Before the buyouts, Shreveport's assembly and stamping operations employed about 950 workers, far down from the nearly 3,000 who worked there several years ago.

In June, GM announced the plant would continue to build Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks for now, along with commercial Hummer models. Production could end before June 2012, GM has said, and the plant officially is part of Motors Liquidation Co. where it will be liquidated under court supervision.

GM is planning to sell Hummer to China's Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Corp., a maker of construction machinery. But China's planning agency is likely to reject that bid, in part because the gas-guzzling Hummers conflict with Beijing's conservation goals, state radio has reported.

The Shreveport operation was hit by high gasoline prices last year, followed by a recession, that slashed consumer demand for large pickups and Hummers.

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