With the February 17th deadline for proving its long-term viability looming, Chrysler LLC has reportedly launched a new round of buyouts for hourly workers. Word comes from an unidentified United Auto Workers official that Chrysler hopes to off load an unknown number of workers eligible for retirement and replace them with new hires that would earn half as much ($14/hr instead of $28) and receive half as many benefits. Unfortunately for those veteran workers who didn't take the automaker's buyout offer last year, the new round reportedly offers less attractive incentives to leave. Workers eligible for retirement who accept the offer will get a $50,000 incentive and $25,000 voucher towards the purchase of a Chrysler vehicle in lieu of a $70,000 incentive offered last time. If workers choose to leave with no retiree health benefits, the incentive jumps to $75,000 with a $25,000 voucher, though last year they received a straight $100,000 incentive. The only plus side is that workers are now reportedly eligible for retirement if they're 55 or older with 10 years on the job.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd, Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty]

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