General Motors Makes Plans for Cuts

By: Renee Charles
By: Renee Charles

A major announcement from a major automaker. Now, General Motors workers in Janesville are on edge over news the company is slashing it's workforce.

To make the cuts G.M.'s CEO Rick Waggoner says the automaker will cut 25,000 manufacturing jobs and close some assembly and parts plants by 2008.

Waggoner says the cuts are necessary because of rising health insurance costs. He says the moves will save the company $2.5 billion.

General Motors employee, Steven Chichoim says "it's a big concern, a huge concern for everybody, not just for us workers but for our surrounding."

Some 3,500 employees work at GM's Janesville plant, manufacturing SUV's. Other businesses in the area would also be affected by lay-offs, or if the plant closes.

Carolyn Markey, Communications Manager for General Motors in Janesville says, "we're focusing on what great news we have, we just had a $175 million dollar investment in our plant to prepare for future production, and that's what we're focusing on."

Wisconsin Secertary of Commerce Mary Burke tells us she's also optimistic the Janesville plant will stay open. "I think there's a lot of reasons to believe this plant will stay open. They've invested $175 million to bring on the new lines for the Suburban and the Tahoe. I was impressed by the increase in productivity, the really good working relationship between labor and management and I think those are all really positive aspects for G.M."

Burke says the state will be working with G.M. to try to keep the company here. There is no word yet on which plants will be closing or from where those 25,000 jobs will be cut.

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