Chrysler expands buyout, early-retirement packages

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler LLC has expanded early retirement and buyout offers for workers at six of the eight factories that it plans to close as part of its bankruptcy restructuring.

In some cases, the offers are better than the ones currently on the table for all of Chrysler’s roughly 26,000 hourly workers. All the offers expire May 26 with workers expected to leave the company the following day.

Under the old offers, workers would get a $75,000 cash buyout and a $25,000 voucher to buy a car to leave the company. Workers eligible for early retirement can get $50,000 and a $25,000 car voucher.

Chrysler spokeswoman Dianna Gutierrez said the new offers add a $115,000 lump-sum payment for workers with more than 10 years of seniority who chose to leave the company. They also come with 12 months of health care. The early-retirement age also was reduced from 55 to 50, she said.

At two factories, St. Louis North and South, workers within two years of retirement eligibility on the dates their plants close would be placed on leave of absence with 85 percent of their pay until they are eligible for retirement.

In addition to the St. Louis plants, the offers apply to the Conner Avenue plant in Detroit; the Kenosha, Wis., engine factory; the Twinsburg, Ohio, parts stamping plant and the Sterling Heights, Mich., assembly plant.

The two other plants identified for closure, Detroit Axle and Newark, Del., assembly, will not get the enhanced offers.

SEE ALSO: Car dealer seeks help to save his business and GM, UAW in dispute over imports, plant closures.

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