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400 local GM workers take buyout offers; Bay City plant to lose 175

Bay City, Saginaw, MI (USA) - The latest round of General Motors Corp. buyouts will trim the work force at GM Powertrain plants in Bay City and Saginaw by nearly 400 people in all.

As those workers begin leaving by a July 1 deadline, the focus turns to how many departing employees GM will replace at the two factories.

"We're going to argue for every job that's there. We know they've got to fill some of these jobs," said Matt Ebenhoeh, president of UAW Local 668 at GM's Saginaw Metal Castings plant.

The company will look to product demand in making its decisions, according to Dan Flores, a GM spokesman in Detroit.

"Fundamentally, our manpower needs at an assembly plant or other plant is driven by how much production we need," Flores said.

An estimated 190 of the Saginaw Metal Castings' hourly workers are taking the buyout or retirement offers, Ebenhoeh said Friday. The plant currently has a work force of about 1,000 people.

In Bay City, GM confirmed Friday that 175 workers at the Bay City GM Powertrain plant will leave by July 1. That's down from the 197 workers who initially filed for the buyout offer, and an initial estimate by the union that 238 would leave.

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