Get laid off, get a new car!

These guys could lose their jobs - and get rewarded with a new car

These guys could lose their jobs - and get rewarded with a new car

I’ve been laid off before, and no one ever gave me a car as a parting gift.

Heck, I’ve had to SELL my car after a layoff so I could balance my budget.

That’s why my reaction bordered on fury when I read this article, stating that most of GM’s hourly workers are being asked to leave the company in return for lucrative incentives. Ready for your blood to boil? Ready for fits of jealousy to take over your body? Ready to realize why GM is bankrupt?

The automaker will give most of its 62,000 U.S. hourly workers $20,000 to leave the company, as well as a voucher good toward the purchase of a GM car worth $25,000.

I’ll give you a second to read that again.

Yes, friends, that’s $2.8 billion GM is offering to employees who won’t even work there anymore. And they have the gall to ask the government, to ask U.S. taxpayers, to fund that? I can understand a company wanting to express gratutude to employees for a job well done, but seriously, hand out Starbucks cards and call it good. 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to buy $25,000 cars for former GM employees. I’d love to buy MYSELF a $25,000 car, but that’s not a wise financial choice for me right now. I suppose that’s why I’m not bankrupt, though, and GM is.

Chrysler’s offer is even more astounding: $50,000 to virtually all of its 27,000 U.S. hourly workers, along with a voucher good for up to $25,000 on the purchase of a vehicle. Some employees could receive payments of up to $115,000 in addition to the voucher.

To tell you the truth, I’ve supported limited government funds to help the struggling automakers recover and rebuild. This news is changing my mind. If this is how they’re spending money, I’m out. Let them fend for themselves.

Do any of you readers know anyone receiving these lavish buyouts? If so, please send them my way; I want to keep an open mind and hope they can justify this, because right now I’m feeling like I don’t care if another new car ever rolls out of Detroit.

Do you support the autoworker buyouts, or do they outrage you? 



  1. Can you buy the vouchers? Any employees not using theres let me know I am buying GM vehicle in next month

  2. @Randy
    GM has gone bankrupt. The employees with the Union contracts should have to get in line with all of the other creditors. Normally that is not at the head of the line.

  3. The automotive union, and most of the traditional old school unions, was form to protect the worker from unconcionable and wide spread abuse by the company. People were treated like cattle: If you were late, you were fired; If you were sick, you were fired; If you had the audacity to die on the job; you were drug of and replaced. I realize that these conditions no longer egist, and you can thank unions for that to. In the seventies the UAW became a sloven, overgrown characature of itself. Members are still reeling from the attitudes from that period. However, today’s union worker is a skilled, well-trained valuable commodity. The problem is that the companies became cash cows for management, and the scramble for a piece of the pie from every quarter drowned Elsie.

  4. @Randy
    To answer your question Randy, no I would’t join a union at work. I’ve been in jobs that have tried to organize and I’ve been against it because I simply don’t agree with their fundamentals. Especially in the auto industry.

  5. @tgriffith
    I can’t reconcile the comment about adoring working people and then flaming their union. The union IS working people. If you really want to be fair, you should read up on the history of the unions in this country, starting with the earliest railroad and mining unions.

    Don’t get me wrong, though– I’m not a union member, I’m a salaried engineer, but I work with union people every day and have been all my life. They own homes, are trying to put their kids through college, and buy groceries. I truly agree that there have been some outrageous and stupid contract stipulations, like “lifetime employement” and job banks, but it takes two to sign a contract, and the manufacturing industry could have reigned in rediculous practices (and should have) when the industry started shrinking in the 1970’s.

    I have a question for you. If you could get significant improvement in your pay, benefits and job security by joining a union at work, wouldn’t you? I would.

  6. Randy, I appreciate your comments on this blog as well. You really do bring another view that many of us are not familiar with. I completely understand your point about how GM employees accept the offer and in turn give away their benefits for the future. I also understand that this is common in other businesses. For me I guess I’m questioning how this is a good business practice. I realize it is a complicated agreement between the UAW and GM and that a union helps keep workers benefits and rights on the up. It just seems like GM could have easily seen this coming and tried to do something to help the situation. Instead they will use citizen money to do it…

  7. The vehicles GM are producing are already sunk costs. And nobody is buying them. I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of thousands of brand new cars sitting on shipping docks and test tracks, etc etc.

    GM isn’t hurting themselves much by giving out these “$25k coupons”. They weren’t going to sell those cars by the next model year anyway. Moving overstocked inventory will reduce their storage costs and help GMAC out as well.

  8. I agree with Colin- there are so many hard-working Americans that are getting laid off in this bad economy, and no one is stepping forward handing them checks. There are many small businesses that may like to do that for employees, yet they wouldn’t dream of asking Uncle Sam to write the check. I really don’t want to pay taxes for their new car. I work my ass off, have two car payments and no one would probably give me much more than a month’s severance package if my employer went under. These aren’t sob stories- its happening everywhere. I probably would be better off working for the big three, getting 20k and getting rid of my car payment. At least for a year. They can probably get unemployment too. I say- wah- no sympathy here.

  9. I think tgriffith was making the point that unionized workers get benefits that don’t equal that of the average American worker (benefits like lifetime healthcare that contribute to GM losing $2000 on every car they sell).

  10. You know, tgriffith is absolutely right. It’s absurd to have to payoff employees when any other non-union company can lay off whoever they want when times get tough. It sucks for those getting laid off, but that’s business. I can’t support bailing the auto companies out when the union is attached to them.

  11. I ADORE working people and I appreciate your comments Randy. It’s not the working people I have an issue with, it’s the union and the outrageous way the Big 3 spend money; especially when they are completely out of it. I know, it’s just the way it is right now. But that doesn’t mean that’s how it always must be.

  12. ….and I don’t remember you screaming about nearly a trillion passed out to the Wall Street and banking people who can’t account for most of it and payed some obscene bonuses last year. Why do you hate working people so much?

  13. Union workers have CONTRACTS with their employers. The employers are legally required to fulfill the terms of those contracts, including providing the work and benefits they have promised, including those that occur in the future such as vested pensions and health care. When workers accept one of these buyouts, they take what is offered in exchange for their future benefits. In other words, they lose their vested future benefits forever. Depending on the employee’s length of service, this arrangement can be very beneficial to the employer and cost much less in the long run. There’s nothing unusual about this arrangement when buying out unionized workers, and a coupon to buy a car costs the car company less than the face value anyway. It’s a shame (once again) that auto workers are singled out for hateful comments by ignorant commentators when other unionized workers in any industry are offered similar buyouts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.