File photo by Brian Louwers

File photo by Brian Louwers

Plans to cut 1,298 salaried positions at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren are part of planned involuntary “separations” that have loomed ominously since late November.

GM filing lays out cuts at Tech Center in Warren

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published February 7, 2019


WARREN — Plans to cut 1,298 salaried workers at the General Motors Technical Center campus in Warren and how that will affect their salaries and benefits in the weeks to come were addressed in a company filing with the state of Michigan dated Feb. 4.

The document, signed by General Motors Co. Director of Global Benefits John Hater, was submitted to the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan and stamped as received on Feb. 5. In it, GM “and its subsidiaries, affiliates and related companies” provide “notice of layoffs,” according to the provisions of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN.

The cuts are part of planned involuntary “separations” that have loomed ominously since late November.

“We are taking action now while the overall economy is strong, increasing the ability for impacted employees to find other jobs,” Hater said in the document, addressed to state Workforce Development Dislocated Services Section Administrative Manager Brian Marcotte. “A number of Fortune 500 companies and other employers have reached out to us expressing interest in hiring our impacted team members. These companies are eager to begin the interview process and fill openings.”

According to the document, compensation for wages and benefits of affected employees will continue through April 9. Beginning Feb. 4, “Affected employees will be advised that they will no longer report to work and their normal work responsibilities will cease, but they will continue to be employed.” The document further states that while their last day as employees in the payroll system will occur on Feb. 28 (or during the 14-day period after that), their compensation for wages and benefits will continue tuntil April.

“Through April 9, 2019, they may devote all of their time to job search efforts, retraining and other transitional activities. This will result in the separation of approximately 1,298 salaried employees at the facility,” the document states.

According to the plan laid out in the document, the actions “are expected to be permanent” and no seniority transfer rights, or bumping, are available for the non-union workers.

An official statement released to the media through GM’s communications team echoes the tone of the letter. The statement indicates, “This is the implementation of the salaried actions announced late last year. These actions are necessary to secure the future of the company, including preserving thousands of jobs in the U.S. and globally. We are taking action now while the overall economy and job market are strong, increasing the ability of impacted employees to continue to advance in their careers, should they choose to do so.

“Our focus now is on working with each individual employee on providing severance packages and transition support through job placement services. We are not disclosing details related to any specific facility or area.”

The company addressed plans to “accelerate its transformation for the future” with an official news release on Nov. 26. A reduction in the salaried workforce was listed along with a “reorganization of its global product development staffs” and the “realignment of its manufacturing capacity” as “proactive steps to improve overall business performance.”

In more apparent bad news for Macomb County, the November announcement included word that the Warren Transmission Plant on Mound Road will be “unallocated in 2019.” The plant will be one of six in the U.S. and Canada affected, according to the release.

The Warren Transmission Plant employs 335 workers, including 265 hourly employees, according to the company’s website. That number is down sharply from 15 years ago, when the plant employed 1,600 hourly union and salaried employees building four-speed automatic transmissions.

In 2004, the Warren City Council approved a tax abatement expected to save the company an estimated $17 million in taxes on a $350 million investment, sold as critical to bringing the company’s six-speed transmission assembly operation to the plant.