Shake-up at Nissan's US plants

About 6,000 workers at Nissan North America will be offered buyouts after rising fuel prices and the economic downturn slowed sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles.

The move, which will see the firm make a single prepayment for a worker's contract in order to have no ongoing obligation to employ that person, will be carried out at the company's two Tennessee plants. The company also plans to eliminate a night shift at one plant.

The technicians and salaried employees at the assembly plant in Smyrna and powertrain plant in Decherd will be offered a lump sum of $100,000 or $125,000 depending on tenure, as well as medical and car purchase benefits, the company said.

Company spokesman Fred Standish said that even though the unit of Japan's Nissan Motor is ending night shift truck production, it does not plan any layoffs.

"We've never laid off anybody in Smyrna and we don't intend to do it now," he said.

Standish said employees on the shift that is being eliminated are expected to either take buyouts or move into jobs made vacant from other workers taking the buyouts.

"There's going to be a lot of movement and realignment," he said.

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