Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein:
Spring has just returned to southern Wisconsin when Jerad Whiteaker grabs a buyout from General Motors like a brass ring. It isn’t much—about $4,000 and six more months of health insurance. At least it’s something.
As he signs the paperwork that seals the deal, Jerad trades away the possibility of another job within General Motors, somewhere, sometime, for the certainty of this small severance package right now. He is transforming himself from a GM’er who happens to be on an indefinite layoff into an ex-GM’er. Not much difference, it might seem. Except that, for Jerad, whose father and father-in-law put in their thirty years at the assembly plant and now live on their comfy pensions, he is signing away the future he has expected for himself.