GM to close most U.S. factories for 9 weeks

DETROIT (AP) " Thousands of GM workers could learn as early as today that they will be idle for up to nine weeks this summer as the automaker's plants stop making all but its most popular cars and trucks.

General Motors Corp. is planning to temporarily close most of its U.S. factories for up to nine weeks, three people briefed on the plan said Wednesday. The exact dates of the closures are not known, but the people said they will occur around the normal two-week shutdown in July when changes are made from one model year to the next. None of the people wanted to be identified because workers have not yet been told of the shutdowns.

GM spokesman Chris Lee would not comment other than to say the company notifies employees before making any production cuts public. But UAW officials will likely raise questions about the move during meetings they have scheduled at several factories today and Friday with plant managers and GM human resource officials to discuss production changes.

GM is living on $13.4 billion in government loans and faces a June 1 deadline to cut its debt, reduce labor costs and take other restructuring steps. If it doesn't meet the deadline, the company's CEO has said it will enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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