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GM offers early buyout to more workers
General Motors is offering buyouts to several thousand skilled trades workers at 14 plants around the U.S.  The automaker will pay eligible workers $60,000 to retire with full benefits. Younger workers will have the option to take the $60,000 in exchange for giving up retiree health care and other benefits.

GM spokesman Chris Lee didn't know how many workers will get the offers. The company estimates that it has 2,000 more skilled trades workers than it needs right now. Skilled trades workers do jobs that need special training, such as electrical work and welding.

Eligible workers will be notified by Dec. 23 and will have to leave the company by March 1.

Nine of the eligible plants have closed or are scheduled to close, which would put those workers on a temporary layoff from GM but would give them the right to transfer into other openings in the company. Those are assembly plants in Wilmington, Del.; Shreveport, La.; Doraville, Ga., and Pontiac; metal stamping plants in Grand Rapids and Mansfield, Ohio, and engine and transmission plants in Flint, Livonia and Ypsilanti Township.

The other eligible plants include Spring Hill (Tenn.) Manufacturing and Janesville (Wis.) Assembly, which have been closed but could reopen if GM needs them. Offers are also being handed out at three open Michigan plants: Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center, Orion Assembly and Pontiac Stamping.

GM has frequently used buyouts to trim its workforce as it tries to match output to its falling U.S. market share. About 66,000 U.S. factory workers have taken buyouts or early retirement offers since 2006.

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