Chrysler has launched a new companywide round of hourly worker buyouts and retirement incentives to cope with the industry downturn and meet federal labor-saving requirements for the automaker’s rescue package.
Chrysler wants to move veteran workers off its rolls to eventually bring on hires who will earn half the $28-an-hour wage of current veteran workers and half their benefits. The carmaker employs about 38,000 workers represented by the UAW.
Chrysler also must bring its labor costs in line with Japanese transplant automakers by February 17. That’s when the company is required to justify a federal rescue loan of $4 billion. General Motors has the same timeline to justify a federal loan commitment of $13.4 billion.
Chrysler spokeswoman Shawn Morgan declined to comment.
The buyout incentives are similar to those offered last year but with a couple of new wrinkles, the union source said.
Retirement-eligible workers who leave will receive a $50,000 incentive plus a voucher of $25,000 for a new Chrysler vehicle, according to the notice. Last year the incentive was $70,000.
Workers who take a buyout and leave with no retiree health care benefits get $75,000 and a $25,000 car voucher, the union source said. The incentive was $100,000 last year.
Another group now is eligible for full retirement benefits: workers 55 or older with 10 years of service, according to the notice.