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Chrysler To Lay Off 1,100 Belvidere Plant Workers

Automaker will eliminate the third shift; move affects nearly one-third of the northern Illinois plant's approximately 3,400 workers.

CHICAGO (AP) β€” Chrysler LLC will lay off more than 1,000 workers in a planned cutback of workers at its northern Illinois plant, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automaker announced Nov. 1 that it would lay off up to 12,000 workers and eliminate shifts in five North American plants to combat sagging sales.
On Wednesday, Chrysler said starting Jan. 31 it will eliminate the third shift at the Belvidere assembly plant. The move affects 1,096 workers or nearly one-third of the plant's approximately 3,400 workers.
''The action is a direct result of the tough economic environment and a response to the market,'' said Chrysler spokeswoman Michele Tinson in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press.
The company is talking with the local United Auto Workers union about offering buyout and special retirement incentives, Tinson said.
The layoffs will affect about 600 temporary workers. Permanent employees will be laid off based on their years of service; those with least seniority will be affected first, Tinson said.
A spokesman for UAW Local 1268 in Belvidere did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The Belvidere plant, which has three shifts, makes the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot.
Chrysler said in November it would cut 8,500 to 10,000 hourly jobs and 2,100 salaried jobs through this year, making up about 15 percent of its work force.
The cuts come on top of 13,000 Chrysler layoffs announced in February 2006.
Chrysler also will stop making four models, including the slow-selling PT Cruiser convertible and Dodge Magnum wagon.
Falling demand for vehicles in the U.S. market made the cuts necessary, Chrysler officials have said.
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