Experts say the move should surprise no one.
The region's manufacturing workforce has been reduced by half in the last 25 years, according to Doug Stites, director of Capital Area Michigan Works. He, like all of us, has seen GM slim their workforce five to six percent every year, four years running.
This year, GM lost 1.4 percent of their market share in 2004. Plus, they cite rising healthcare costs on the one million people GM they insure. They say these are the costs of production, and the cuts are a way to help them keep the bottom line.
The reductions will come in the form of attrition and retiring. GM does not intend to layoff workers. Will they hire at all? Of course. When it’s finished, the newest plant in the GM family in Delta Township will employ over 2,500 workers. That's fewer than plants of years past because the plant will operate with a global manufacturing assembly line like Lansing's Grand River Assembly plant. On it, machines do work that men did before them.
GM emphasizes the reduction in the workforce is not outsourcing. From Detroit, GM spokesman Dan Flores says, "We're not moving Lansing jobs to China. Our manpower needs in a region are based to the demand market within that region."