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2/27/2009 3:15:00 PM
Allison Transmission trims salaried work force for first time in 25 years

Indianapolis Business Journal

By Kathleen McLaughlin, The IBJ

Allison Transmission laid off salaried employees for the first time in a quarter-century yesterday.

Spokesman Eric Dickerson said the company hoped the number of people who accepted early retirement in December would help avoid layoffs, but it became necessary to cut a little more than 40 people as the economy worsened after Jan. 1.

"We had to do something we have not done in over 25 years," Dickerson said.

Nearly all the layoffs were at the Indianapolis headquarters. Allison, a former division of General Motors Corp., has three production plants and its main office on West 10th Street in Speedway.
After buyouts and the layoffs, the company has more than 1,000 salaried and more than 1,900 hourly employees worldwide, Dickerson said. Most are in the Indianapolis area.

A high number of both white and blue-collar workers took Allison's early-retirement offer late last year. More than 100 salaried people retired Jan. 1, Dickerson said.

In addition, today will be the last day of work for more than 400 members of United Auto Workers Local 933, he said. As the IBJ reported in December, production workers will walk away with bonuses of $42,500, while those in skilled trades get $60,000.

The laid-off salaried employees will get severance of as much as six months of their normal pay, Dickerson said.

Allison makes transmissions for trucks, buses, and military vehicles. General Motors sold the local division to private equity companies Onex Corp. and The Carlyle Group in August 2007 for $5.58 billion.

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