Word has just come across the wire that Nissan will be offering a "voluntary transition program" to all of its hourly employees working in either its Smyrna or Dechard manufacturing plants in Tennessee. These are effectively buyouts, which can net an hourly worker a lump sum of $45,000 and a bonus $500 for each year of service. It's certainly not the sweet deal offered to members of the UAW who work for General Motors and Ford, but the offer could help Nissan reduce the rank and file of its relatively young and non-union work force in North America. For whatever reason, the offer is only being made to employees at these two plants in Tennessee. The Smyrna plant employs about 6,700 people, though some are surely salaried, and produces the Altima, Frontier, Maxima, Xterra and Pathfinder. The Dechard plant only employs 1,400 people and produces many of Nissan's engines, including the glorious VQ 3.5L V6. This news is pretty fresh, so we'll keep our ears peeled for reaction from the auto pundits.