The job losses at DaimlerChrysler’s suburban St. Louis operation will be worse than previously reported.
The automaker said it will eliminate more than 1,900 jobs at its two plants in Fenton – which is 600 greater than previously reported.
Spokeswoman Michelle Tinson said the additional 600 job cuts had been privately disclosed to unionized workers, but were not publicly reported in February when the company first announced cutbacks near St. Louis.
DaimlerChrysler is trying to improve efficiency at its plants and the most recent reductions are not related to 1,300 job cuts announced last month, Tinson said.
Glen Woemmel, president of United Auto Workers Local 110, said he had not been notified of any new job cuts in Fenton.
"They have not officially told me anything," Woemmel said.
In February, DaimlerChrysler announced plans to eliminate 1,300 jobs at the South Assembly plant, where minivans are made. But at the time, the company didn’t announce the additional cuts, including some at the North Assembly plant, where Dodge Ram pickups are manufactured.
Fenton Mayor Dennis Hancock said he wasn’t aware of the additional 600 job cuts until reporters called and asked him about it.
"We’re always disappointed when we hear about job loss," Hancock said. But the cuts may help in the long run, he said.
"The people who are left to work in the plant will still have jobs," Hancock said. "It’s much better than it could have been."
Tinson said DaimlerChrysler plans to offer hourly workers a $70,000 retirement incentive for those with at least 30 years of seniority.
The company will also offer $100,000 for workers with more than one year of seniority who accept voluntary termination, Tinson said. Retirees will keep health and other benefits consistent with their union contracts; other workers will get six months of medical benefits.
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