GM offers buyouts to most of its US salaried employees

A letter from CEO Mary Barra sent to GM employees on Thursday offered a buyout to many of its 58,000 employees, saying the company plans to cut $2 billion in fixed costs over the next two years. GM announced its plan to cut costs in January, during the same earnings call in which it announced record revenue of $14.5 billion for 2022. GM plans to spend billions in the coming years to move to building electric cars and making other changes.

So far, GM’s progress hasn’t been smooth – we called its luxury electric truck a “bummer EV”, production has been slow, and there’s a Hummer EV sales freeze after reports of water seeping into its Honda Civic-style battery.

A copy of the letter from Fox 2 News reporter Dylan Dulberg shows that the message is clear: “This program is designed to accelerate turnover in the US. Taking this step now can prevent involuntary actions.” A filing for investors revealed that the company expects to spend up to $1.5 billion on employee segregation costs and up to another $300 million “on pre-tax non-cash retirement discount costs.”

The Voluntary Separation Program is available to all paid U.S. employees with more than five years with the company and all global executives with more than two years. According to Dulberg, workers have seen offers of one month’s pay and COBRA medical coverage for each year of service for up to a year.

As CNBC points out, the last time GM had a similar buyout plan was in 2018-2019, around the same time it closed several factories and laid off thousands of workers. In the letter, GM told employees, “By permanently reducing structural costs, we can improve vehicle profitability and remain agile in an increasingly competitive market.”

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