General Motors Corp. is offering 5,200 United Auto Workers union-represented employees at select sites retirement incentives, a widely anticipated move stemming from the new collective bargaining agreement reached in October.

GM is extending the offer to workers at its 23 U.S. Service Parts and Operations (SPO) facilities, as well as hourly employees at its Pittsburgh metal stamping plant; Massena, NY, casting plant; and those assigned to JOBS Banks in Oklahoma City; Linden, NJ; and Rancho Cucamonga, CA. GM estimates those JOBS Banks sites account for about 900 workers.

“This first phase of a comprehensive attrition program, designed in conformance with the 2007 UAW national labor agreement, provides our employees with attractive options to consider,” says GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner.

GM will conduct a second round of buyouts early next year, for which all other UAW-represented employees will be eligible. “We’re still talking with the UAW on details of that piece,” a GM spokesman tells Ward’s.

Details of the first phase of retirement incentives will be made available to workers after the holiday shutdown. GM would not elaborate on the offer, but says it features elements similar to an attrition program it conducted in 2006 that included lump-sum payouts of up to $140,000 without health-care benefits. GM says 34,410 hourly workers, or about one-third of its hourly work force, accepted some type of buyout as part of that program.

GM’s hourly payroll presently includes 72,000 active UAW employees. That number does not include workers assigned to the JOBS Bank.

The attrition program will clear the way for GM to hire employees at a lower wage, a key victory for the auto maker in its new contract with the UAW that will bring its labor costs more closely in line with competitors such as Toyota Motor Corp. GM has said it could turn over 75% of its entire hourly work force through attrition programs and natural retirement before the expiration of the new labor agreement.

jamend@wardsauto.com