GM Introduces New 2008 Line Of Layoffs
DETROIT—Calling it the automotive company's "toughest and
longest-lasting" line of cutbacks to date, General Motors proudly
unveiled its new 2008 model layoffs on Monday, bringing months of rumor
and speculation to an end.
According to industry insiders, the automaker's latest offering of
layoffs is by far its largest, with hundreds of unemployed workers
expected to hit the streets as early as next week, and thousands more
scheduled to come off Michigan assembly lines by the end of spring.
"Introducing the all-new, all-American GM layoffs," announced General
Motors chairman Rick Wagoner, gesturing toward a lineup of
soon-to-be-released factory technicians outside the company's main
Detroit plant. "Bigger, bolder, more daring—these 2008 redundancies are
sure to create a stir."
Urging consumers to forget everything they thought they knew about job
security, Wagoner described the cutbacks as "a major breakthrough in
downsizing," and claimed GM had set a new benchmark in letting people go.
"We've really outdone ourselves this time," Wagoner continued. "Nobody,
and I mean nobody, expected General Motors to come out firing the way it
has in 2008."
While many details have yet to be released, the new layoffs are said to
boast a number of exciting features, including automatic suspension of
health-care benefits and a no-money-down payment option on all severance
and forced-retirement packages. In addition, the 2008 layoffs will come
equipped with a three-day notice of termination, rather than the
standard two-week notice offered on earlier models.
"Our new line of layoffs will forever change the way hardworking men and
women get by," General Motors vice chairman Robert A. Lutz said. "No
other car company today—be it Toyota, Ford, or even Saturn—can compete
with GM when it comes to canning their workforce."
More ambitious than last year's line, the new layoffs reportedly
underwent a difficult development phase. According to Wagoner, many
within the company questioned his vision for the bold cutbacks, calling
them unorthodox, impossible, and even reckless. But the General Motors
chairman pushed forward, confident that the groundbreaking series of
firings could be achieved.
Though the layoffs were his idea, Wagoner said their realization would
not have been possible without the help of several thousand dedicated GM
"We simply couldn't have done it without everyone's participation," said
Wagoner, giving a special thank-you to his former human resources
department. "Had our talented pool of engineers, technicians, and
skilled laborers not come in day after day, there would have been nobody
for us to ask to leave."
As excited as General Motors officials are about the layoffs, public
reaction has been far less positive.
"I'm definitely unimpressed," said Charles Henderson, a Michigan
construction worker. "They can dress things up as much as they'd like,
but these are just the same old layoffs GM trotted out last year. And
come to think of it, the year before that."
"I saw some of them parked outside the food bank on Warren Avenue
yesterday, and they were pretty sorry looking," Henderson added. "What
was GM thinking?"
Citing an apparent lack of thought and care behind the layoffs, many
have accused the automotive company of only being interested in its
While General Motors has strongly disputed that claim, the recent firing
of its entire public relations department has made it difficult for the
automaker to get a positive side of the story out.
"I don't know what people were expecting," Wagoner said. "We're General
Motors. Firing great people is what we do."