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UNION PACIFIC OFFERS EARLY RETIREMENT TO 1,800 WORKERS

Union Pacific Corp. has offered early retirements to 1,800 employees as part of its plan to cut 2,000 jobs.

Employees who are 52 or older and not in senior management positions received packets this week outlining the early retirement option, spokesman John Bromley said.

The employees have until March 5 to decide whether to accept the package, which includes a monthly annuity, monthly paycheck and medical coverage. The benefits are based on age and years of service.

The company plans to complete the 2,000 job cuts by midyear.

Of the 2,000 cuts, 1,200 will be the remainder of the 5,200 jobs cut due to the railroad's 1996 merger with Southern Pacific Rail Corp. The other cuts are the result of decreased demand for shipping freight with the economic slowdown.

Normally employees become eligible for a reduced pensions at age 55 and full pensions at 65.

The early retirement program adds 10 years to an employee's qualifying requirements. The extra years apply first to an employee's age and then experience to bring the employee closer to a full pension.

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