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None of the planned 750 hourly workers to be laid off next month at the Toledo Jeep Assembly complex may be furloughed, based on a buyout plan negotiated between United Auto Workers Local 12 and Chrysler LLC.

The plan to be presented to workers soon calls for three proposals that could generate enough takers to avoid any layoffs when the third shift ends next month, said Bruce Baumhower, president of Local 12. The shift makes the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro.

Although he declined to reveal the buyout amounts, he said one plan is for workers with 30 years or more seniority, of which the Jeep complex has 500. Those employees would get the payout and their pensions.

Another package with no buyout amount would give another 200 workers with less than 30 years' seniority immediate pension eligibility, and a third plan would be for younger workers who would take a buyout and sever pension and other ties with the company, Mr. Baumhower said.

Cancellation of the third shift was announced in November as part of the elimination of up to 10,000 jobs throughout the company necessitated by insufficient sales.

Sales of the Liberty were off 31 percent last year, despite a redesigned version that went into production last summer.

Nitro sales have not been as strong as hoped, the company has said.

But Mr. Baumhower said he expects sales will pick up this year for Liberty and result in new hires at the plant.

The Toledo Jeep complex, which makes the Jeep Wrangler in neighboring factories, has about 3,500 Chrysler workers.


LINK:toledoblade.com -- Buyouts may eliminate need for 750 Jeep layoffs
 
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