General Motors Co. said it is offering jobs to most of the 2,800 U.S. factory workers marked for layoffs as the automaker closes four factories next year.
GM has 2,700 jobs available in seven different U.S. plants, and 1,100 workers have already volunteered to relocate to those facilities, according to a statement.
Of the 2,800 people being laid off, 1,200 are eligible to retire, spokesman Pat Morrissey said.
The announcement probably won’t ease tensions with labor. The United Auto Workers union and GM already negotiated the right to relocate furloughed workers to open positions in other plants, so GM isn’t really providing anything new, UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said in an interview. He then reiterated that UAW President Gary Jones has said the union will work to keep the four plants open.
The relocation offer comes two weeks after GM announced that it will lay off more than 14,000 employees, including more than 8,000 salaried staff. Since then, the automaker and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra have been under pressure from members of Congress in the affected states and from President Donald Trump, who campaigned on the promise of an industrial revival in the upper Midwest.
Some U.S. workers would have to move far away from Michigan and Ohio to plants in Tennessee and Texas. Others, like the 1,200 being cut from Detroit-Hamtramck’s sedan plant, could transfer to a truck plant an hour away in Flint, Michigan.
The relocation opportunities for factory workers aren’t available to the 3,000 Canadian employees who also are losing their jobs. Separately, GM said it will help the workers find new jobs with other companies in the region near the Oshawa, Ontario, plant.
By David Welch