Kennecott, unions agree to early retirement offer for some employees

Posted at 4:04 PM, May 08, 2013

WEST JORDAN, Utah – Kennecott Utah Copper and its major unions announced the first deal in what is certain to be a tough month of negotiations.

The announcement comes after a massive landslide at the Bingham Canyon Mine led to an expected 50 percent decrease in production at the mine.

The company will offer a $20,000 incentive for senior employees who take early retirement.

The retirement would also include a pension based on the number of years an employee has worked for the company multiplied by 44.

For example, a 35-year employee would get $1540 per month in pension.

In addition to the pension, the company would also give retirees and extra $300 a month until they reach the age of 62, when they are eligible to take reduced Social Security benefits.

"You want to reduce impacts on their family and their livelihood and those are very difficult decisions to make," Kennecott spokesman Kyle Bennett said.

Wayne Holland, the chief negotiator for the United Steelworkers at Kennecott, told FOX 13 the deal comes after years of negotiations.

"[The deal] represents years of hard negotiations in which we gave up important benefits for some long-term security," Holland said.

Eligible workers have until June 1 to take the deal.

Kennecott plans to announce its first round of layoffs in May.