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Future Of GM Could Affect Thousands In Kentucky


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Future Of GM Could Affect Thousands In Kentucky

Posted: March 30, 2009 10:17 P
NewsChannel5.com - Nashville,TN,USA

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - General Motors shut down production for two weeks to save money and reduce inventory, and two more shut downs are scheduled between now and the end of June.

The hundreds who work at the GM Corvette plant are nervous about losing benefits or even their jobs.

GM workers like Eldon Renaud are worried about what else could be coming.

"We've always been some what inflation proof with the Corvette because our customers were still there even in difficult times, but the economy has been so bad now we're even suffering the same fate as everyone else," said Renaud.

Union leaders are concerned a new restructuring plan could include more concessions like cuts in retiree benefits.

"I think it's a scary situation. If I, I just decided I was going to retire a couple of days ago, and I changed my mind," said Renaud.

Renaud decided not to accept a company buy out because he was not sure what benefits will be available.

The uncertainty of the situation has even reached car dealerships. David Jaggers, the sales manager at Leachman Pontiac, had to reassure customers.

"We've been here over 60 years. We've got about 15,000 customers in our database and we're contacting as many as we can and letting them know we're not going anywhere," said Jaggers.

Industry experts believe some other dealerships may not survive.

At the Corvette plant a lot of people appear scared. There was even talk of retiree health insurance benefits being cut in half.

"I mean that will bankrupt anyone, so everyone is in fear that might happen," said Renaud.

Two years ago the UAW agreed to a two tier wage plan that allowed GM to pay new workers about half of the average $28 hourly wage made by current employees.

Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner left GM with a financial package worth an estimated $23 million.

GM's loam from the government prevents executives from receiving a severance pay, but the loan does not affect earned pensions.

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