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GM Reportedly Near Deal With UAW

GM's plan will discuss cost savings from labor concessions and additional plant closures, but the locations of those plants will not be revealed, another person briefed on the plan said Monday. The number of factories to be closed wasn't available.

GM's board met Monday by teleconference to go over the plan, but details could not be obtained.

The people briefed on the plan said it will include more information about how GM will cut some of its eight brands, although nothing will be finalized. The company already has said Saab and Hummer are up for sale and Saturn is under review, leaving GM to focus on Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick, with Pontiac reduced to one or two models.

Earlier, local union officials said negotiations had been slowed by the Obama administration's delay in appointing a "car czar." But Sunday night, the White House announced a task force to oversee the companies' restructuring.

Obama plans to name restructuring expert Ron Bloom a senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. While he won't be the "car czar" point man many labor and business leaders expected, Bloom, a former consultant to the United Steelworkers of America, will be doing much of the financial analysis for the administration.

The competing interests of debt holders also slowed the labor talks, as no stakeholder wants to make concessions before the other.

Under the terms of GM and Chrysler's loans, both companies must use their best efforts to reach "targets" to reduce debt and labor costs. One target says the automakers need to make half of their payments into the health care trust in the form of stock rather than cash. Another requires the companies to reduce unsecured debt by two-thirds by swapping debt for equity. The terms also seek labor cost parity with Japanese automakers that have U.S. plants.
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