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Originally published Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 8:22 AM

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GM says 7,500 hourly workers decide to leave

About 7,500 General Motors Corp. workers have signed up to take buyout and early retirement incentives to leave the company, the automaker said Thursday.

AP Auto Writer

DETROIT —

About 7,500 General Motors Corp. workers have signed up to take buyout and early retirement incentives to leave the company, the automaker said Thursday.

Also, Chrysler LLC said Thursday it would extend its offers to entice blue-collar workers to leave the company. The old deadline was Friday.

At GM, about 12 percent of the company's U.S. hourly work force of 62,400 decided to leave, most through early retirement offers.

GM offered $20,000 cash and a $25,000 voucher to buy a car to all of its hourly U.S. employees in an effort to further trim its blue-collar work force to match reduced sales. company.

The deadline to decide was Tuesday, and many of the workers waited until the last minute to turn in their paperwork. The workers have seven days from the date they turn in the paperwork to rescind their decision, so many will have to decide by March 31.

For those that will leave, the effective date of their departure is April 1.

Both GM and Chrysler are living on a total of $17.4 billion in government loans and are seeking another $21.6 billion. The Obama administration's auto task force has indicated it may offer more aid, but further concessions are possible from both the companies stakeholders.

Both companies have to submit finalized restructuring plans to the federal government by March 31.

The latest round of buyouts and early retirements at GM was the third for the company since 2006. From all three offers, more than 60,000 workers have decided to leave the company.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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