3M Offering Buyouts To 3,600 U.S. Workers

Maker of Post-it Notes and Scotch tape is offering early retirement packages to about 11 percent of its U.S. work force as it tries to cut costs.

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. (AP) -- 3M Co. is offering early retirement packages to 3,600 employees, or 11 percent of its U.S. work force, to reduce costs even further amid the economic slowdown.

The voluntary buyout offers follow the manufacturer's recent moves to cut 3,600 jobs, defer merit pay raises and adjust vacation allowances.

Company spokeswoman Jacqueline Berry said eligible nonunion employees -- either at least 59 years old with five or more years of service, or at least 55 years old with 30 years or more of service -- will be notified of the early retirement package on Thursday. They will have until May 31 to make a decision.

3M has not said how many employees it hopes will take the voluntary package, or how much it could save if employees opt to retire earlier than planned.

Those who take the package will receive an additional year of service credit and have a year added to their age in calculating their pension benefits.

Earlier this month, 3M cut its worldwide work force by 1,200 jobs. The company, whose operations span office supplies, transportation and health care, also cut 2,400 jobs mainly in the U.S., Western Europe and Japan in the fourth quarter to save $235 million this year.

It has also deferred merit pay increases for another $100 million in annual savings, and modified its policy on banking vacation days to get an additional $100 million in savings over the next two years. The company plans to cut capital spending by about 30 percent this year and conserve cash aggressively.

3M, the maker of Scotch tape, Post-It Notes and other products, has operations in more than 60 countries that employ 79,000 people, and generated about two-thirds of its revenue outside the U.S. last year.

Shares of 3M rose $2.29, or 4.5 percent, to $53.67 in morning trading.

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