General Motors Plans Layoffs

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General Motors Corp. said it would cut up to 2,850 jobs by eliminating a shift at two plants in Michigan and New Jersey, citing low market demand for its automobiles.

Company officials said the staggered layoffs will begin on April 15 at the Orion Township Assembly Plant in Michigan and the Linden truck plant in Linden, New Jersey.

GM spokesman Dan Flores said Thursday that the elimination affects 1,100 jobs at the Linden factory and up to 1,750 jobs at the Orion Township plant.

``These are obviously difficult decisions to make,'' Flores said. ``However, GM makes its production decisions based upon market demand.''

Union officials were not available for comment Thursday night.

Opened in 1937, the Linden plant has been making GM light duty pickup trucks and Blazers since 1992.

The Orion plant makes the Pontiac Bonneville, Buick Park Avenue and the Oldsmobile Aurora.

January sales were down 33 percent for the Pontiac Bonneville, more than 39 percent for the Buick Park Avenue and 80.7 percent for the Oldsmobile Aurora compared to this month 2001, Flores said.

Sales in January for the Chevy Blazer dropped 51.3 percent and 95.4 percent for GMC Jimmy compared to a year ago, he said.

There would still be one shift of production at the plants, Flores said.

The news comes as New Jersey officials try to keep open a Ford plant in nearby Edison.

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