GM has preliminary deal to sell medium-duty truck business to Navistar

By James P. Miller Tribune staff reporter
9:31 AM CST, December 20, 2007

 DETROIT – Warrenville truck and diesel-engine maker Navistar International Corp. disclosed this morning that it has tentatively agreed to acquire General Motors Corp.’s medium-truck operation.But details of the long-rumored acquisition remain hard to come by.Under terms of the “nonbinding memorandum of undstanding” the two vehicle manufacturers unveiled, Navistar would acquire assets and intellectual-property rights that would allow it to manufacture GMC and Chevrolet brand vehicles at a Navistar facility which hasn’t yet been named.Last year, the GM truck unit produced 40,800 medium-duty commercial vehicles under the nameplates such as Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC TopKick.

Navistar, meanwhile, sold just over 52,200 medium trucks under its International brand. Unlike GM, in addition to a big line of medium-duty vehicles Navistar also makes heavy-duty Class 7 and Class 8 trucks used by long-haul interstate fleet operators.

Navistar will manufacture the Chevy and GM brand trucks, which will be sold through GM’s dealer network. The extra production has been expected to be a big plus for Navistar’s flagship medium-truck plant in Springfield, Ohio, although the company has never formally promised the work would go to that unionized facility. Workers represented by the United Auto Workers only a few days ago voted to end a seven-week strike at Navistar’s production facilities in Springfield, Indianapolis and suburban Melrose Park.

GM currently makes its medium trucks at a plant in Flint, Mich.; the Detroit maker of autos and light trucks said Thursday it will retain ownership of the Flint plant, and will make other vehicle models there going forward.

The proposed purchase represents “another example of how we’re strategically growing our business for trucks, engines and parts,” and in the process creating cost-cutting economies of scale, said Navistar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Ustian.

GM, in a statement, called the sale “another step” in the company’s ongoing effort to streamline its operations and focus on designing and manufacturing cars and light trucks.

Rumors that Navistar would acquire the GM medium-truck operation first surfaced six months ago, and the Warrenville company confirmed in late October that it was holding talks with GM on such a purchase.

In recent days, rumors had suggested an announcement was imminent. Those expectations made the detail-light “memorandum of understanding” the companies actually disclosed, and the absence of an actual sales agreement or sale price, something of an anti-climax.

The deal is expected to close in 2008, the companies said, “subject to completion of satisfactory due diligence, the negotiation of a definitive purchase agreement, customary regulatory clearance and board approval.” Upon closing, Navistar warned, “transition of the business could take several months to conclude.”

GM shares fell 3 cents to $26.63 in morning trading Thursday. Navistar shares were up 10 cents to $53.30.

December 20, 2007 at 11:27 pm

GM to Offer New Round of Buyouts to Hourly Workers – Reuters

By Poornima Gupta
Dec. 18, 2007

DETROIT — General Motors Corp. said  on Tuesday it will offer a new round of buyouts to some U.S.  hourly workers, making way for the automaker to hire new  employees at lower wages.  

GM said the buyouts, which will be offered to 5,200 of its  72,000 UAW factory workers, will include a combination of early  retirement incentives and other programs similar to those  offered in 2006.  

Under a 2006 deal with the UAW, more than 34,000 workers  left GM after accepting buyout packages that ranged from  $35,000 to as much as $140,000.  

Employees would learn the specific details of the current  buyout program in January, GM said.  

Hourly employees who accept the buyouts would begin to  leave the automaker in “early March time frame,” GM spokesman  Dan Flores said.  

Lehman Brothers analyst Brian Johnson estimates the current  program would be accepted by about 1,900 employees, netting  savings of about $190 million annually.  

“We view this as a small step toward the ultimate attrition  program, which we have forecasted to net a total of 11,000  positions in 2008,” Johnson said in note to clients.  

A UAW spokesman could not be immediately reached for  comment.  

The buyouts were part of the four-year labor agreement GM  reached with the union on Sept. 26, following a two-day  nationwide strike.  

The contract allows GM to bring in thousands of lower-wage  new hires for “non-core” jobs to replace current workers as  they retire or take buyouts.  

These lower-wage new hires will start at about $14 per hour  — roughly half the current average hourly wage for UAW  workers.  

The buyouts initially will be offered to all  UAW-represented hourly employees working at GM’s service parts  and operations facilities across the United States as well as  five other facilities, the automaker said.  

Almost all of the new hires in GM’s service parts  operations would fall into the lower wage category.  

The program will be offered later to hourly employees who  work in GM’s assembly, stamping, powertrain and engineering  facilities in early 2008.  

GM’s offer comes as concerns mount that the U.S. housing  slowdown will hurt auto sales in 2008.  

“We continue to work closely with our UAW partners to  improve our competitiveness in the currently challenging U.S.  market conditions,” said GM Chairman and Chief Executive Rick  Wagoner in a statement.  

GM shares rose 54 cents, or 2.05 percent, to $26.93 on the  New York Stock Exchange

December 20, 2007 at 4:57 am

GM HR Communications Bulletin Board

Author:           Lynette Holmes/US/GM/GMC         Date:                12/18/2007
                                                Deletion Date:  02/16/2008        
Category:         HR Communications        

Topic:         HC-07-23 Health Care – Medical Carrier Contact Information for Hourly and Salaried Enrollees


        MEDICAL DIRECTORS (As Applicable)

DATE:                 December 18, 2007

SUBJECT:                Health Care – Medical Carrier Contact Information for
                Hourly and Salaried Enrollees

The following information is being provided for all hourly and salaried employees in the unlikely event that they do not receive their new medical ID card prior to 1/1/08 and need to seek medical services.

If the employee has chosen to stay with the same carrier in 2008 as they had in 2007, they can continue using their old medical card until a new ID card arrives.  Some employees who chose to keep their existing plan may not receive a new ID card for 2008.  However, if the employee has chosen to switch medical plans, they need to follow the simple instructions outlined below:

                                                – 2 –        

Blue Cross Blue Shield
If the employee is in need of medical services and has not received a 2008 Blue Cross Blue Shield identification card, he/she needs to have his/her provider contact the local plan to verify eligibility or call 1-800-482-2210.  After 01/01/08, enrollees may register on to obtain information to give to their medical provider until the new card is received in the mail.

For prescriptions, enrollees need to tell their pharmacist that their plan has changed and the pharmacist may contact Medco directly at 1-800-922-1557 to verify eligibility.

If the employee is in need of medical services and has not received a 2008 CIGNA identification card, he/she can enroll at and print a temporary ID card.  It is a simple four-step process at a personalized and protected Web site.  Additionally, enrollees or their provider may call member services at 1-800-887-9733 to verify eligibility or to address any other medical or pharmacy questions.

If the employee is in need of medical services and has not received their 2008 HMO identification card, he/she can contact the appropriate HMO for more information at the number listed below:

·        Blue Care Network (BCN) 1-800-662-6667
·        Blue Care Network Advantage (BCNA) 1-800-450-3680
·        Health Alliance Plan (HAP) 1-800-422-4641
·        HealthPlus of Michigan 1-800-332-9161
·        MercyCare Health Plan of Wisconsin 1-800-895-2421
·        BlueChoice Health Care Plan Georgia 1-800-441-2273
·        Blue Choice of Rochester New York 1-800-462-0108
·        Dean Health Plan 1-800-279-1301
·        Kaiser Permanente Georgia 1-888-865-5813
·        Kaiser Permanente California 1-800-464-4000
·        Priority Health SE/West Michigan 1-800-446-5674

Any questions regarding the subjects covered in this message should be directed to Lea Soderlind, Health Care Initiatives, 313-665-1709.  

Shelly Hoffmann
Director, Health Care Plans
GM Health Care Initiatives

December 20, 2007 at 4:54 am

2007 Chevrolet Volt Concept

GM Retiree eNews
December 19, 2007
  Email this to a friend.

New email address?


Today, President George W. Bush signed into law new energy legislation that will have a significant impact on the auto industry.  This new law will require tough CAFE standards, which with the talent and commitment of our people, GM will work hard to meet.

This past year has been a challenge in the public policy arena.  While GM has remained committed to improving fuel economy and being at the forefront of innovation, we also need to continue to educate policy makers on the potential impact of pending proposals on the industry.  Because of the efforts of many GM employees, we were able to successfully inform lawmakers through phone calls and letters about a number of critical issues that were being considered including the separation of car and light truck regulations.

Highlights of the new bill include:

  • 35 mile per gallon requirement by 2020 for cars and light trucks combined;
  • Cars and trucks are to be regulated separately;
  • Sets standards based on size and weight attributes of vehicles;
  • and, Extends flexible fuel vehicle credits.

In a statement late yesterday, Rick Wagoner observed the following:

“…the new fuel economy standards within the bill set a tough, national target that GM will strive to meet.  We will focus our engineering and technical resources to attain these standards and we remain hard at work applying the innovation and developing the advanced technologies that will power tomorrow’s cars and trucks.  Addressing the nation’s energy security challenges, however, will require all of us working together and we hope to see continued progress on infrastructure and market-driven mechanisms that can augment the auto industry’s efforts.”

As we close 2007, we want to thank you for communicating with your government officials and other community leaders about these issues.  Passage of this legislation, however, will not end consideration at the federal, state or local level of critical policies impacting the business, and in particular in the energy and environmental arenas.  That is why it is likely that we will ask for your help in the future on those issues that affect our industry.

Thank you for engaging in the process and helping to preserve GM’s competitiveness and an industry that remains vital to the U.S. economy.


Troy Clarke
President, GM North America

December 20, 2007 at 4:49 am

See some red, save some green.

 The Red Tag Event ends
January 2, 2008!
Beat the year-end rush and save during the Red Tag Event
now through January 2, 2008. Combine $1,000 Red Tag Bonus
Cash* on the purchase or lease of select 2008 vehicles with
your GM employee discount and most current incentives


>> CHEVY Aveo, Cobalt, Impala, Avalanche, Silverado 1500,
  TrailBlazer, Tahoe,** Suburban

>> BUICK Lucerne, LaCrosse

>> PONTIAC G5, G6, Grand Prix, Vibe

>> GMC Yukon,** Yukon Denali, Yukon XL, Yukon XL Denali,
  Envoy, Envoy Denali, Sierra 1500

>> SATURN AURA,** VUE,** VUE Red Line

Or, get great Purchase Bonus Cash*** offers on vehicles
that are ready for the long haul.

>> $1,000 on 2007 and 2008 Chevy Equinox and Pontiac Torrent

>> $1,500 on 2008 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500
  models with gasoline engines

>> $2,500 on 2008 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500
  models with diesel engines

For more information on the GM employee discount, call
1.800.235.4646 or visit by clicking here


* Take retail delivery by 1/2/08. Not available with low-rate
financing. See dealer for details.
** Excludes hybrid models.
*** Take retail delivery by 1/2/08. Not available with
low-rate financing, SmartLease or SmartBuy. See dealer
for details.

The marks of General Motors, its divisions, slogans, emblems,
vehicle model names, vehicle body designs and other marks
appearing in this email are the trademarks and/or service
marks of General Motors Corporation, its subsidiaries,
affiliates or licensors. Copyright 2007 GM Corp.
Buckle up, America!

General Motors Corporation
100 Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48265

December 19, 2007 at 1:51 am

UAW Ad Push Aims to Change Its Image

The Detroit News

By Eric Morath
Dec. 18, 2007

A new UAW television advertising campaign aims to reshape the union’s image from the organizers of industrial labor to a diverse organization that promotes workplace safety, fair trade and community involvement.

The ads, which began airing in Metro Detroit and four other markets this week, direct the public and UAW members to a Web site,, where they are invited to share their own stories, post photos and YouTube videos. The first stories posted are those of members featured in the TV ads.

The 30-second spots feature tightly cropped shots of UAW members talking about the union’s support of charitable causes and for higher global workplace standards.

One ad opens with Yolanda Crosby, a UAW-represented nurse, saying she is deeply concerned about the safety of toys imported from China. She says: “It’s not just about product safety, but workplace safety. The workers who are making the unsafe products are working in unsafe environments.”

The ads – part of the first ever interactive marketing campaign from the UAW – strive to change stereotypes about the union, said Daphne Rice, a worker at Ford Motor Co.’s Rawsonville plant and the subject of one of the commercials.

“My motto is we are more than autoworkers we want to send out a different message,” she said.

“We have people in the UAW who are out there assisting their communities and making a difference.”

Rice’s ad talks about how UAW members contribute to many community activities. She noted that she is involved several outreach programs, including the Women Safe House Project.

Rice said she’s an example of UAW workers who are more-than-meets-the-eye. She’s the reining Ms. Galaxy after winning a national beauty pageant held in Orlando, Fla. She said musicians, artists and computer experts go to work with her every day at the plant.

The “I am the UAW” campaign is the union’s first general awareness campaign in about 15 years. In addition to Detroit, the ads will air in Indianapolis, Jackson, Miss., Louisville, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn. The UAW would not disclose the cost of the ads.

The campaign aims to recast the UAW in a better light, following a year of difficult contract negotiations with Detroit’s Big Three, which included two short strikes, said Laurie Harbour-Felax, an automotive consultant and managing director at Stout Risius Ross Inc.

“They want the public to start thinking of them as someone who can participate growing economy, rather than being a barrier to entry,” said Harbour-Felax, referring to the notion that Toyota, Honda and others have been reluctant to build manufacturing plants in Michigan, in part because of the state’s strong history of organized labor.

“These ads can show workers at Toyota, who have voted against joining the UAW, that (the union) benefits both workers and their communities.”

Andrew Linko, a Ford electrician from Brownstown Township, said he hopes the ads will show more people that the UAW is a part of their lives, whether or not they’re a member. He is featured in ad in which he talks about the union’s efforts to improve worldwide workplace safety, as he paints furniture.

“We’re bringing this down to the grass roots to show that we’re not just big labor, not some third party, but we’re your next-door neighbor or the person you play bingo with,” he said.

UAW leaders said the ads aren’t intended to recruit more members but rather to raise awareness of the activities and positions of the union.

The Web site which complements the advertising campaign features audio, photo and video-sharing technology. Participants can tell stories about why they became members or what their locals are doing to make a difference in the community.

“Communication today is a two-way street,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. “With an interactive Web site, we can help our members share real stories about who we are and what we have accomplished-with each other, with friends and neighbors and with the broader public.”

December 19, 2007 at 1:48 am

The EPA wants to stop old-car restorations

Hemmings Classic Car – FEBRUARY 1, 2008 – BY RICHARD LENTINELLO

Although it’s too late to stop the anti-painting law, there’s still time to do something to protect your freedom to buy auto body paint. Go to the EPA Web site,, and voice your concerns now, before it’s too late.

My column in HCC #38, “Alternative Painting Techniques,” didn’t seem to go over too well with one of our readers. Obviously a spineless, environmental-extremist wacko, this reader forwarded a copy of my column to the United States Environmental Protection Agency of New England, whereupon we received a pleasant letter from Susan Lancey of the Air Permit, Toxics and Indoor Programs Unit. Susan was kind enough to advise us of some pending legislation that will soon be signed into law, and sent us a copy of the new regulation.

Ms. Lancey’s letter reads:
“I was recently forwarded a copy of an article titled “Alternative Painting Techniques” published in the November 2007 issue of Hemmings Classic Car magazine. I noted that the article did not mention environmental regulations that may apply to the painting discussed in the article. I am writing to inform you that on September 17, 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed federal regulations in the Federal Register which, when finalized, will regulate surface coating of metal parts and plastic parts, including auto body refinishing. I have enclosed a copy of the proposed regulation and a fact sheet for your review.

“This regulation is scheduled to be finalized in December 2007, after consideration of public comment on the proposed rule. For surface coating operations, the proposed rule would require sources to implement equipment and management practices that minimize the amount of coating required and to capture toxic metal particulates from the process. The equipment practices include confining spray operations to within a properly filtered spray booth or preparation station, using high volume low pressure (HVLP) or equivalent spray equipment, and either cleaning spray guns manually or by using an enclosed spray gun washer. The management practices include proper training and certification of painters.

“When published in the Federal Register, the final rule will specify how it may apply to any person refinishing an automobile. At that time you may want to inform your readers of the new regulations. You should also be aware that states have environmental regulations that may also apply to these types of activities.”

Susan was kind enough to include a Fact Sheet, which gave a brief outline of the impending regulations. Listed among the Action items, one bullet point read: “The proposed standards apply to area sources that engage in:

  • paint stripping operations that use methylene chloride (MeCl)-containing paint
  • surface coating operations that involve paints that contain metal HAP compounds
  • autobody refinishing

But what’s truly scary is the following bullet point:

  • Area sources are those that have the potential to emit less than 10 tons per year of a single toxic air pollutant or less than 25 tons per year of any combination of toxic air pollutants. If sources emit more than these amounts, they are called ‘major’ sources.

I’m concerned with the use of the word “less” in the above bullet point. Although no home restorer will ever produce 10 tons per year of a toxic air pollutant, all of us will certainly produce less than that amount. And therein lies the issue. Basically, what this regulation is saying, is that no one will be allowed to spray a toxic finish-i.e. auto body paint-outside of the confines of a properly filtered spray booth. In short, folks, we’re screwed.To find out more details, I called Susan about this regulation. I asked if the EPA took into consideration how much harm they will be doing to not only home restorers, but the entire collector-car hobby and associated industry, too, and was told that the EPA did take into consideration public comment on the regulation.

When I asked where the EPA obtained these public comments, Susan said they were gathered from their Web site. So, because this and other proposed federal regulations are only posted on the EPA Web site, and, let’s face it, how many citizens know to go there, virtually no one knew about it to protest. Oh yeah, there was only a 30-day window in which to submit an objection to the regulation, and that window was slammed shut on us back in September. How nice.

And it’s going to get worse. I just learned from another source that, by the year 2011, the EPA is looking into restricting the sale of auto body paints to only those who are certified to use the product. It’s the EPA’s way of reducing the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the atmosphere. Unless you are certified, and have a $100,000 filtered paint booth, you won’t be able to buy the necessary paints to restore old cars, trucks or motorcycles.

All these regulations prove once again just how misguided the EPA folks really are, and how little consideration they have for us. The amount of VOCs that body shops and hobbyists emit into the air is probably less than 1/100th of 1 percent of the total amount produced each year. I bet Al Gore creates more pollution flying around in his private jet each day than 10,000 hobbyists create in a year of painting old cars. Restoring old cars is the ultimate form of recycling, yet the EPA wants to stop it. How smart is that?

Although it’s too late to stop the anti-painting law, there’s still time to do something to protect your freedom to buy auto body paint. Go to the EPA Web site,, and voice your concerns now, before it’s too late.

December 16, 2007 at 10:06 pm

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