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Heinz Offers Buyout To All Local Employees, Prompting Concerns About Future Here

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Nothing says Pittsburgh like HJ Heinz, but the company's new Brazilian owners – 3G Capital -- have replaced the company's management team with primarily Brazilians.

Now KDKA-TV has learned that a voluntary resignation package has been offered to every Pittsburgh-based employee.

In a memo to 775 employees, Heinz noted, "We understand our new culture may not be for everyone."

"We want to make sure that every employee feels truly invested in the culture and our business plan."

Sources say the severance -- which must be accepted by April 21 -- offers a minimum of six-months pay to quit.

Point Park University business professor Dr. Elaine Luther sees a power shift at Heinz.

"When you do something like this, you're really saying we're shifting the power from the employees to management, and it almost sounds like a veiled threat," says Luther.

Not so, says Heinz Senior Vice President Michael Mullen in a statement to KDKA.

"Heinz realizes that its new dynamic and results-driven culture, focused on efficiency and meritocracy, may not be the perfect fit for every employee. Consequently, we have decided to provide a generous opportunity for eligible employee to leave Heinz with enhanced severance benefits," it read.

While Heinz talks about its new dynamic profit-driven culture, others say it's more about the new owners -- from Brazil -- who have a different way of doing things

"It's a culture clash," says Luther, "but I think it's also a culture naivete."

While sources say Heinz will replace each employee who opts to leave, Luther is skeptical.

Luther: "If they're just offering it to Pittsburgh, it sounds like something other than a corporate cultural change."

Delano: "Loss of jobs overall?"

"Loss of jobs overall."

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