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GM's RenCen staff to be cut


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GM's RenCen staff to be cut

State gives tax break, but hoped to keep 500 more workers

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

Lansing -- The Michigan Economic Growth Authority gave a $50 million, 20- year tax break to General Motors Co. Tuesday in exchange for the automaker's promise to keep at least 2,000 employees at Detroit's Renaissance Center.

But there will be fewer employees at the RenCen headquarters than the state had hoped: GM scaled back the number of workers it vowed to keep at the iconic downtown building from 2,500 to 2,000. About 4,000 employees work there now.

"We have had intensive talks with GM and they made it clear they did not want to retain a minimum of 2,500 employees at the Detroit Renaissance Center," said Greg Main, president of the MEGA board.

"They are still in the midst of restructuring and not everything has been settled, but they did say they want to concentrate its (white-collar) employees in four locations."

GM remains committed to keeping the RenCen as its global headquarters, but declined comment specifically on the reduction of workers it plans to keep there, said company spokesman Tom Wilkinson.

"We are not leaving Detroit or Michigan. We are still working out the details of the overall plan," Wilkinson said.

In October, GM began reviewing its southeast Michigan facilities as it considered moving some operations from the RenCen and consolidating workers spread among facilities in Pontiac, Warren and Grand Blanc.

The GM tax break was among 23 awarded by the MEGA board in its final meeting of the year.

The projects are expected to create 2,236 direct and 4,418 indirect jobs, retain 2,263 jobs, and generate over $672 million in investment in the state.

"These expansion projects, located across the state and in different businesssectors, are a great way to close out the year," Gov. Jennifer Granholm said at a press conference Tuesday.

"Companies are taking advantage of our excellent work force, competitive business climate and innovative economic development tools to locate or expand in Michigan. Our aggressive strategy to diversify and grow Michigan's economy is working."

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