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DETROIT-General Motors plans to close several major plants as part of a massive restructuring plan that will see the automaker eliminate 25,000 manufacturing jobs in the US, about 17% of its domestic workforce.

Outlining plans for GM’s turnaround, chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner would not identify the plants or if or when the automaker would try to divest itself of those properties. David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, says however that the most likely targets are several older plants. Those include facilities in Janesville, WI; Doraville, GA; Oklahoma City and Pontiac, MI, he says. The Janesville plant was built in 1919 and the Doraville plant was built in 1947. The other two plants were built in the 1970s.

Wagoner says the unidentified plants would be closed throughout the next three years. The United Auto Workers union responded that GM’s ability to make the cuts would depend on worker attrition rates and its contract negotiations with the union. GM’s UAW contract expires in 2007.

“The UAW is not convinced that GM can simply shrink its way out of its current problems. What’s needed is an intense focus on rebuilding GM’s US market share, and the way to get there is by offering the right product mix of vehicles with world-class design and quality,” says UAW vice president Richard Shoemaker, who directs negotiations with GM.

GM already shut a factory in Linden, NJ in April and a factory in Baltimore in May, affecting about 2,000 employees. GM reported a loss of more than $1 billion in the first quarter of 2005.

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