To ensure long-term viability, General Motors has pledged an arm and a leg (and maybe an eye) to satisfy conditions imposed by the federal government after the automaker received billions in taxpayer-funded loans. In addition to reducing debt and condensing the number and type of vehicles it produces, GM has promised to revamp labor contracts -- not an easy task. With that in mind, GM is entering historic talks and negotiations this week with the United Auto Workers, bondholders, dealers and others to help transform the automaker into a lean and profitable company.

It's a monumental task, but GM needs to undertake serious financial concessions to implement their restructuring plans. These include eliminating up to 31,000 jobs, closing down nine assembly plants, shutting 1,750 dealerships, and possibly eliminating the Saturn brand. Of course, they also have to renegotiate the 2007 UAW labor contract with GM. The UAW has resisted wage and benefit cuts, but without union compromise GM could be forced to file bankruptcy... something none of the players wants to see happen.

[Source: Detroit News]