Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA, has started offering buyout packages to what might amount to 30 percent to 50 percent of the tobacco giant’s employees, including those in Virginia.
Some Richmond employees were presented with offers on Monday. Others found out last week. A longtime plant worker said employees had two weeks to decide whether to take the packages.
The buyouts are part of an effort to lower costs for the tobacco conglomerate by about $600 million, according to the company.
Some employees will be offered six to 18 months of benefits, in some cases including full pay. Severances depend on length of tenure at the company. The buyouts are probably only being offered to salaried plant managers and white-collar office workers, including those in departments such as information technology and other back-office support roles, according to several sources familiar with the buyouts. Hourly workers likely are not being offered buyouts, said another source familiar with the plants.
“We have been communicating them since announcing them in the spring, and [we expect] further reductions now and in February,” said Bill Phelps, an Altria spokesman.
“We expect the headcount in Virginia to decline.”