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Ford expects up to 11,000 workers to accept buyouts


DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said on Monday that it expects 10,000 to 11,000 unionized hourly workers to accept early retirement and buyout offers by the end of the year.

The number of workers who accept buyouts is a closely watched indicator of the success of Ford's turnaround and cost-cutting efforts. The workers are represented by the United Auto Workers union.

Through June 1 about 4,900 workers, including employees at parts subsidiary Automotive Components Holdings, have accepted buyouts, Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans said.

Ford is offering a range of buyout packages, including a $100,000 severance payment and a tuition reimbursement program.

The automaker has said it plans to close 14 plants by 2012 and cut up to 30,000 blue-collar jobs to turn around its money-losing North American unit.

Ford is offering the buyout and early retirement packages on a plant-by-plant basis based on approval by the local unions at the factories.

The UAW said last week that more than 33,000 factory workers at rival General Motors and former subsidiary Delphi Corp. have accepted buyout offers, exceeding early expectations, the United Auto Workers union.

GM, which is also in the midst of a sweeping turnaround, has offered a package of buyouts ranging from $70,000 to $140,000 to more than 125,000 unionized factory workers in a bid to reduce costly benefits for an aging work force.
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