• Sep 11, 2009
2009 has been a rough year for General Motors' white collar workforce. The embattled workers have endured bankruptcy, job cuts and pay reductions, but today some good news came via email. The Detroit News is reporting that Human Resources Vice President Mary Barra sent out an official missive today telling workers that the 3 paycuts the workers received back in May would be restored effective September 1. Executive pay cuts of 10% are also being restored, though the base salary reductions of senior executives will not be restored.

GM says it saved $50 million by instituting the cuts during the four months they were in effect, but the decision to restore the pay levels was made by GM's new board of directors and executive management. Company spokesman Tom Wilkinson says the paycuts would help retain the employees it had left, adding "we've got a much smaller company now and the quality of our people is more critical than ever. We are in risk of losing good people."

Recent news for white collar workers at GM isn't all rosy, though, as the company plans to cut up to 6,000 salary workers through attrition and involuntary layoffs. GM stated earlier this week that it plans to reduce its white collar headcount by 1,000 workers by the end of September.

[Source: Detroit News | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM - Engineers and Factory Workers hamstrung by MBAs and Bean-Counters...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Jimbo,

      Thank you for comments and insight. I am in the same boat as you and am very relieved to get my pay "returned." This still doesn't come close to putting a dent in the 401K funds that we were forced to place into GM stock. Tens of thousands of my retirement gone thanks to Bean Counters and CEO's.

      For those of you that say it is "ill-timed," you have no idea what you are talking about.

      This week and next week is "supposed" to be the last cut of engineers here at GM. Friends and colleagues of over 10 years were continuosly told they were "safe" by their management but they still got the dreaded "tap on the shoulder" and are no longer here. Living without knowing is the worst feeling in the world in this environment. You simply can't believe anyone, so you sit on pins and needles hoping you'll still be employed after the last "safe date."

      As far as being employed for "the money," for me that couldn't farther from the truth. I am a CAR NUT!!!! I have been, thanks to my father, for as long as I can remember. When I was 16, I made the decision to work at GM, and here I am over 20 years later, living my dream. My dream has taken a bit of a nighmarish turn recently, and I could do nothing to control it. I do my job to the best of my ability, and that's all I can do.

      I promote GM products anywhere I go, and have been able to "conquest" dozens of people from competitors vehicles into GM vehicles. These customers have been amazed with their new GM vehicles. They, too, believed the "hype" that GM vehicles are sub-par. Now that they took a chance and bought GM, I don't think any of them will go elsewhere for any future purchases. Give GM a shot. You'll be pleasantly surprised too!

      An in regard to getting my pay back, my family does live "outside our means" at all. My family needs my pay restored for other reasons.

      My wife is unemployed thanks to Michigan's Canadian immigrant - Granholm.

      She was employed by a local community college and was responsible for training other people who were left unemployed by this market. The "no worker left behind" program ran out of money, so my wife, instead of helping "workers left behind" became one of them. Thanks Granholm. Go back to Canada and leave your Pension behind to pay for the mess you made!!!

      I still don't understand why Granholm is on Obama's team. She's destroyed Michigan's economy. Don't let her screw up any progress that may be visible with the entire nations ecomony.

        • 5 Years Ago
        1 correction:

        My family does NOT live "outside our means" at all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I disagree with this move by GM.
      The company is not financially solvent yet and they have not paid back the money they owe.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You see, I am one of the white collar who will get the 3% (in my case) back. The morale in salaried satff is at an all time low and I don't think that 50 million is that significant.

      - The persons responsible for this predicament we are in are management; on this , I do agree with Obama and the task force.

      - Untill recently, we paid hefty pension money to Roger B. Smith who is, in my opinion, the major artisan of this debacle.

      - Most of the senior management worldwide has to be removed. Too many little friends and inbreeding.


      -The employees , like any soldier, don`t really have the choice to follow the marching order. Try it with your own employer and share the experience in this blog.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks for sharing your experience. You have my heartfelt support.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I wish you the best of luck. You hit the nail on the head with it all being little friends and inbreeding. The company I was at was only about 4500 people but they've laid off half of the company since January and closed one factory. It devastated our town of 15,000. Not a single major exec was fired. There are 3 senior VPs on the payroll that haven't been doing anything for years and are just coasting to retirement. Since the CEO came into power 15 years ago, there have been 12 rounds of layoffs. The Board of Directors won't do anything because the CEO is also the Chairman and all the members serve on each other's boards. And the Board determines who can be nominated to be on the Board. GM is a much bigger company, so I've got to imagine all this crap is happening on a larger scale.

        I wish we had a mechanism to remove all these stupid execs. When a company does poorly due to the mistakes made by the execs, the workers are the ones that pay the price. When the company does well, the execs take a disproportionate part of the rewards. Oh well, this sh!t has been getting progressively worse for decades and I don't see it changing any time soon, if at all in my lifetime.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Despite what you say I think the white collars at the bottom and middle are very talented.

      The idiots at the top are the ones that need to be diced for the brutal management of the designers and engineers.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Having interacted with these "talented" people, I will not refute your statement, but only cringe at the prospect that the company is being run by people who are worse.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They shouldn't restore pay cut as GM need to save as much as they can right now. Plus, I'm pretty they're still getting pay VERY well even with the pay cut.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wait a minute.... Restoring something means putting it back to it's original condition/position. If a paycut is being restored.... I guess it's original salaries that are being restored and paycuts scrapped.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love the scapegoat comment of "To keep good talent" didn't Wall St. use that excuse with bonus's and such? That and some of these same people who just got some of their pay restored will soon lose their jobs. If I was told "You'll be getting back 5% of your pay but in a few months there is a good chance you wont have a job.", that's not really reassuring you know. That and as someone else stated if the talent was so good they wouldnt of gone bankrupt in the first place.

      Though I am happy that someone in HR realize's that if they restored the top senior's there would be one hell of a PR nightmare on the news tonight.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks yet again Jimbo lol.
        Its not market driven its greed driven. That and since for all intents and purpose's GM is now owned by the Government (what is the percentage again 61%?) all these highups should be given such a pay cut that even Scrooge would say "Damn!". I'd say have the High Up's get paid only 2x what the avg GM employee makes. Imagine having a CEO getting paid 80k a year instead of 500k. If they leave then fine bye-bye, I'd rather have people who love the company than people who are there for the money.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Clavius: it's market driven.

        Trying to find a good CEO at a low price will reserve you the same results as buying an *sighs* Aveo.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The execs can't get their salaries restored without approval from the Auto Task Force, otherwise I'm sure those morons would have done so already (or even given themselves a raise for "bringing the company out of bankruptcy"). Say what you want about the government stepping in to help GM and Chrysler, it is at least keeping the execs from doing stupid sh!t like that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        True statement Jimbo. As much as I hate government control and all that but in this instance its a good thing. Although you know they'll find a way around it via bonus's or whatnot. I never really understood the pay gap between a CEO/Exec's and the "common worker" if you will. If your helping run your company into the ground tell me again why they deserve such a high pay grade? I dunno.. maybe this is why I hate big business.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Aprime: CEOs (and CEO wannabes) are a dime a dozen. You can get rid of one and there are literally hundreds of people ready, willing, and equally qualified to take their place. If the position were truly driven by the market, their salaries would be getting lower, not higher.

        No, they get paid those wages because they are based off of comparisons to what their buddies in similar positions are getting paid. They then tack on a percentage increase to "get them to stay". Then the cycle repeats with the people that were used as benchmarks. It's a positive feedback loop that has gotten out of control. And the members of the board of directors all sit on each other's boards. If they force a CEO to take a pay cut, then it might happen to them as well. Sometimes the CEO is also a member or even the Chairman of the board, effectively setting their own salary and job standards. And when the board determines who can sit on the board, there's no checks or balances. It's elitism, plain and simple. In no way is CEO pay market driven.

        And can you honestly and with a straight face say that they deserve, on average, 300x what the average worker makes or 2-4x more than CEOs in Western Europe or Japan for doing the exact same job? And those foreign CEOs make only 10-20x more than the average worker (adjusted for population size); which goes to show you how pathetically low our average wages are.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Venom, whats a couple million in a multi-billion dollar bucket?
      They have got to keep the talent if you ever want that money back.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Most of those work rules had been removed some time ago and those union wages were never as ridiculous as reported. Not even close.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Judy - Nobody got a raise. It was a restoration of wages taken from these people. If you want to argue against it that way, fine. But don't call it a raise. And those retirees you speak of, I do agree that they got the shaft. I know because my mother is one of them. It sucks and she doesn't like it, but she is dealing with it as best as she can.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not a well timed move. I really doubt there was that much competition in the white collar auto executive job market in Detroit at this point in time. As it stands the ink is barely dry on the bankruptcy papers. They should have at least waited 6 months. The company should be reporting positive financials before anyone gets a raise.

        The one cut you will never see reversed is the one that wasn't fair and that was the cuts made to the retired workers and widows. They already put in their time and don't have the luxury of changing jobs. Many are old and frail and suddenly found out they lost benefits they had been promised all their life just when they needed them. That was the most disgusting thing they ever did.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Talent???

        If they were so talented the company would not have been almost out of business.

        Instead of raising the salaries back up, they should fire them all. Top down and start over.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It was a nice thing for GM to do. I would've rather had the 401K matching returned, however, I ain't complaining.

        One thing about people claiming these pay cuts needed to return to retain talent - I don't think that is very accurate - It's not like the late nineties where a good engineer could name his price.
        Just where would people go for other jobs? The industry is decimated right now. As an automotive engineer, you're trapped near the industry, especially if you have a home and a family.
    • Load More Comments