DETROIT - As part of its massive restructuring plan, the Chrysler group will lay off 2,700 employees by month's end to meet a targeted cut of 5,000 white-collar jobs.
The 2,700 jobs will be axed because only 2,300 workers offered early retirement took the benefits packages, a spokeswoman said. The company offered early retirement to 4,000 employees.
Many of the 2,700 workers were notified last week. Some local newspapers and TV stations cast Friday, March 16, as a day of mass firings, adding that the DaimlerChrysler headquarters building in Auburn Hills, Mich., would be closed to outsiders.
The coverage angered DaimlerChrysler management and resulted in a press release that scolded the local press. The statement denied that March 16 was 'black Friday.'
'It simply isn't true that the office building was shut down. This kind of drumbeat has been going on for several weeks now,' said a DaimlerChrysler spokesman.
The white-collar layoffs are a part of the 20 percent overall force reduction - 26,000 jobs - that the Chrysler group announced on Jan. 29. Five thousand white-collar jobs in North American and Mexico will be cut by March 30. The only area that will be cut by 10 percent rather than 20 percent will be product development engineering.
The Chrysler group is identifying the 19,500 blue-collar jobs that will be cut in the next three years and preparing early retirement packages for that group, a spokeswoman said.
The company already has cut 1,300 contracted positions.