Chrysler extends deadline for employee buyouts

Chrysler LLC has extended its deadline for employees to make decisions on proposed special buyouts.

Chrysler is offering the buyouts to its employees who are members of the United Auto Workers (UAW), including about 150 workers at the company’s engine plant in Kenosha.

The company’s original deadline was Friday.

However, the company has been meeting with union officials and agreed to extend the deadline indefinitely.

"As a result, after discussion with the International UAW, we have agreed to extend the deadline beyond March 27, 2009, for those individuals who believe that they cannot make a fully informed decision until they understand the full ramifications of changes to the UAW contract. A firm date for closure (deadline) will be established after ratification. Meanwhile, those employees who choose to accept the buyout offer may proceed with separation from the company," the company said in a prepared statement obtained by BizTimes Milwaukee. "We believe this course of action will allow those who want to separate to do so, while also allowing those who require more information on the changes to the UAW contract to have sufficient time to decide."

The Obama administration gave Chrysler and General Motors Corp. until Tuesday, March 31, to negotiate new labor agreements with the UAW as a condition of receiving another round of federal bailout funds.

GM is not likely to reach that government-set restructuring deadline, but the Obama administration is likely to extend the deadline by 30 days, according to a report Friday in The Wall Street Journal.

Ford Motor Co. has not requested financial assistance from Washington.

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