DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Corp. is offering buyouts and retirement incentives to 5,200 hourly workers represented by the United Auto Workers.
GM would not reveal how many workers it expects to leave under the program, but said 5,200 are eligible, spokesman Dan Flores said Tuesday.
More than 34,000 GM workers left last year by way of retirement or buyouts, he said.
The program announced Tuesday will be offered to all UAW-represented hourly employees working at GM's service and parts and operations facilities across the country.
It also will be available to hourly employees at GM's Pittsburgh metal stamping plant; Massena, N.Y., casting plant; and to all hourly employees currently assigned to jobs banks in Oklahoma City; Linden, N.J.; and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
GM is expected to implement the second phase of the program in early 2008 and it will involve UAW-represented hourly employees who work in GM's assembly, stamping, powertrain and engineering facilities.
The automaker and union have not agreed upon the specifics of the second phase, Flores said.
GM wants more than 16,000 hourly UAW workers to exit the company. Many would be replaced by workers at the lower tier wage scale approved under a landmark four-year contract with the union. Such new hires would be mainly in non-manufacturing jobs and would receive reduced health care and pension benefits than the workers they replace.
GM anticipates replacing higher paid workers with entry-level employees who will make less.
Current UAW employees earn about $28 an hour, while entry-level wages begin at about $14-$15 an hour, Flores said.
''Certainly, we are focused on cost-reduction efforts,'' Flores said. ''In the U.S., it's a competitive marketplace and customer demand is softening. There is an urgency to cutting costs as quickly as we can.''
GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said the program was designed to conform with the 2007 labor agreement with the UAW.
''We continue to work closely with our UAW partners to improve our competitiveness in the currently challenging U.S. market conditions, while also investing in future products and technologies critical to support our leadership in fuel economy,'' Wagoner said in a release.
GM shares rose 54 cents, or 2.1 percent, to close at $26.93 Tuesday.