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November 13, 2008 - 11:05 AM CST
Chrysler offers buyout at Fenton plant
St. Louis Business Journal

Still reeling from last month’s St. Louis South plant shutdown, Chrysler workers are being presented with options to leave the company for good.

Chrysler LLC announced this week it will offer to buy out about 3,000 employees in the greater St. Louis area, including workers at the North plant and those laid off from the now-shuttered South plant, both in Fenton, according to Ed Saenz, Chrysler’s manufacturing and labor communications manager.

Three types of separation packages are being offered for three categories of workers -- eligible for retirement, nearing retirement and those who qualify for neither.

For workers eligible for retirement, a $70,000 lump sum payment is offered. Those nearing retirement are offered full retirement benefits, and workers who qualify for neither are offered one of two packages.

Workers with more than 10 years’ experience are eligible for a $140,000 lump sum and workers with less than 10 years can get $100,000. Health insurance benefits will be extended to both for an undetermined period of time following the buyout, Saenz said.

Details of the offer were discussed Wednesday with South plant workers; North plant employees will hear the offers Thursday.

Saenz said the company will not announce whether employees have already accepted the offer.

Sales of trucks and vans have dropped as drivers turn to more fuel-efficient vehicles, prompting Chrysler in June to reveal its plans to close the South assembly plant indefinitely and reduce operations at its North assembly plant, which makes Dodge Ram trucks, from two shifts to one, affecting a total of 2,400 employees.

A shift was cut at the North assembly plant in September.

Chrysler’s South plant, which assembled minivans, was idled completely at the end of October.

LINK:Chrysler offers buyout at Fenton plant - St. Louis Business Journal:
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