May 18, 2009

Chrysler expands retirement program

U.S. automaker Chrysler LLC said Monday it would expand offers of early retirement at plants it plans to shut down to trim operating costs.

The program covers union workers at Sterling Heights Assembly and Conner Avenue Assembly in Michigan. It also covers Kenosha Engine in Wisconsin, Twinsburg Stamping in Ohio, and two assembly plants in Fenton, Mo., the Detroit Free Press reported Monday.

Workers whose combined age and years of service is above 85 or workers over 60 with a decade of service at the company will be offered a $50,000 buyout plan plus $25,000 toward the purchase of a Chrysler vehicle.

Chrysler, in the middle of a bankruptcy proceeding, is attempting to cut 3,500 union jobs to help trim operating costs. Currently, the company has 26,000 hourly workers.

It is Chrysler's third extension of the retirement plan this year. The plan includes variables depending on the work site. At the plants in Fenton, Mo., Wisconsin and Ohio, a special option expands the offer to workers age 50 through 62 if they worked at Chrysler for 10 years or more.