GM Retirees Concerned About Auto Giant's Bankruptcy

Monday, June 1st 2009, 6:22 pm
By: News 9

By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Thousands of Oklahomans are keeping a close eye on General Motor's recently announced bankruptcy.

They are GM employees who worked at the Oklahoma City plant before it was shut down almost four years ago.

GM has a rich history and its employees, both past and present, are looking back at the mistakes made, wishing there was some way to change what's happened to the once booming automaker.

George Muzar worked in upper management at GM and Russell Dearing worked on the assembly line and is a member of the local union.

"I'm concerned about my GM family," Muzar said. "The people over 65 who owned GM stock and lost, owned bonds and lost."

"I have a lot of fond memories at GM and I had a lot of good people working there," Dearing said.

Since the GM plant closed, Dearing has gone to work as a custodian at an Oklahoma City Church. He's still considered an active employee at GM, and as a UAW member, voted "yes" on the company's restructuring plan.

"We gave up part of our prescription coverage, we lost all of our dental and vision," Dearing said. "There's a possibility, I don't know for sure, in the near future of this reconstruction of the final we'll lose our health benefits too."

Yet it was a sacrifice Dearing felt had to be made.

Meanwhile, Muzar spent part of his afternoon on a conference call with the company as the president of a local GM retirees club; he's keeping other retirees informed on the changes and he expects they will be big.

"I can not see the government owning 72 percent and not ruining GM," Muzar said. "To me, the government touches anything they tend to ruin it."

Attempts to contact UAW local 1999 for a comment were unsuccessful.