General Motors Lordstown Assembly Complex can opt in to an attrition program
Options include early retirement, incentives
By Jordyn Grzelewski
Today marks the last day workers at the General Motors Lordstown Assembly Complex can opt in to an attrition program that could mitigate layoffs slated to go into effect later this month.
An informational flyer provided recently to United Auto Workers Local 1112 members reported that 434 people so far had chosen to participate in the program, which was announced in April when GM announced the elimination of the second shift at the Lordstown plant.
Of the 434, 350 were production workers and 84 were in skilled trades.
The program also is available to workers at GM’s Parma Metal Center.
Those numbers are not final, as employees have through 3 p.m. today to sign up, and seven days to change their mind.
The program offers two options – early retirement or a buyout.
Under the retirement option, according to the terms offered to production workers, the employee agrees to retire no later than July 1 “under the normal or voluntary provisions of the 2015 GM-UAW pension plan.” Production workers who choose to retire will receive a cash payment of $60,000.
The second option is to quit no later than July 1, and “relinquish all seniority and rights under GM benefit plans” other than vested pension plans. Employees who choose this option will receive a lump sum based on their seniority.
For production workers, the terms are: Those with 20 or more years of seniority will receive $50,000; those with 10 to 20 years will receive $45,000; those with five to 10 years will receive $15,000; and those with less than five years will get $5,000.
Dave Green, UAW Local 1112 president, said the program could help offset the upcoming layoffs.
“That’s going to help us not lose as many people to layoffs. The more people that retire, the more people that can stay and work,” he said. “That helps keep our people working.”
Eliminating the second shift will cut the plant’s current workforce by half, from 3,000 to 1,500. The shift elimination is a way to align the supply of the plant’s compact car, the Chevrolet Cruze, with slow demand. The plant lost its third shift last January.
The Lordstown plant, which previously built the Chevrolet Cobalt and Cavalier, began building the Cruze in 2010. Questions about the future of the Cruze, and by extension the Lordstown plant, have loomed as Cruze sales have lagged.
The Vindicator reported in April that an announcement about a future production is not expected in the immediate future. Any product announcement likely would not take place until next year, during UAW/GM contract negotiations.
Green said that whatever employees choose with regard to the attrition program, the union will be there to support them, as the union also represents retirees.
“It’s a life-changing decision for a lot of our members. It’s a very personal decision for everybody,” he said.
“We’re still going to be there for them when they retire.”