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Allison workers to be offered buyouts

December 18, 2008
Allison Transmission will offer early retirement to those of its 2,200 hourly workers who are eligible in order to cope with the dramatic economic slowdown.

The company plans to unveil details of the offer in meetings with employees tomorrow, and declined to say how many workers might be eligible or the size of work force it hopes to achieve.

"The company has felt it's very, very important to talk to employees prior to talking to outside sources," spokesman Eric Dickerson said.

Dickerson said the company reached an agreement on the special early retirement offer with United Auto Workers in the past several weeks. UAW officials in the Indianapolis-based Region 3 office could not be reached for comment this morning.

One hourly employee, Tim Lynch, said orders are slow, as they are across all manufacturing shops. "They're just doing an adjustment. Fortunately they can do it with an early retirement offer," Lynch said.

Lynch said most of his peers are simply digesting the news they received yesterday and have no details on the terms. Lynch added that by his estimate, as many as 1,400 workers might be eligible for retirement. "Obviously, that's not the number they're looking to get."

Dickerson said the eligibility cut-off will be 30 years of service and 85 points, which are a combination of age and years of service. So a 50-year-old with 30 years under his belt would not meet the cut-off, but a 55-year-old who has worked the same length of time would be eligible.

Allison Transmission is a former unit of General Motors Corp., which sold to Carlyle Group and Onex in 2007. Allison employs a total of 3,300 nationwide. Most of its work force is in six plants around Marion County, including the headquarters and three plants on West 10th Street.
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