General Motors hourly workers will receive profit-sharing checks of up to $12,000, benefiting employees of the automaker's Town of Tonawanda and Lockport plants.
The payouts to United Auto Workers-represented workers were based on GM's full-year North American profits for 2016, which totaled $12 billion. About 52,000 U.S. workers are eligible for some amount of profit sharing, based on the number of hours they worked last year. The formula, which is part of the workers' labor contract, called for them to receive $1,000 for every $1 billion of pre-tax North American profits.
The profit sharing "rewards our members' dedication and commitment to building some of the most popular and high-quality vehicles in the world," said UAW vice president Cindy Estrada, in a statement. "They deserve every penny of that collectively bargained bonus check." The $12,000 figure is a record high for GM profit sharing.
About 850 workers at GM's components holdings plant in Lockport are eligible for some amount of profit sharing. GM's Tonawanda engine plant has about 1,500 hourly workers; it wasn't immediately known how many of those workers were eligible for profit-sharing checks.
Chuck Herr, shop chairman for UAW Local 774 at the Tonawanda plant, said the profit-sharing checks reflect the value of "good-paying union jobs" in the region, and that the payouts will benefit the local economy. "The more money we make, the more we can spend, which keeps Western New York going," he said. GM said the workers will receive their checks on Feb. 24.
Last year, GM workers received profit-sharing checks of up to $11,000, as the auto industry continued its climb from the depths of the Great Recession.
Last month, Ford Motor Co. said its hourly workers at Ford's U.S. plants would receive profit-sharing checks averaging $9,000. Ford has 56,000 UAW-represented workers, including about 950 at its metal parts stamping plant in Woodlawn.