Ford Motor Co.'s 2017 profits will hit home for hourly workers at its Woodlawn stamping plant who are represented by the United Auto Workers. The plant makes stamped parts for a wide array of vehicles, including for production at the nearby assembly plant in Oakville, Ont.
Ford will distribute profit-sharing checks averaging $7,500 to more than 54,000 UAW-represented hourly workers, based on the automaker's 2017 results. About 930 of hourly workers at the stamping plant on Route 5 will be eligible for the profit-sharing checks, said Dale Rogers, president and chairman of UAW Local 897. The checks will be distributed in March.
"Through hard work and collective bargaining in 2015, UAW Ford members will receive an average of $7,500 in profit sharing for their work in 2017," said Jimmy Settles, UAW Ford vice president.
Profit sharing is a benefit negotiated by the UAW as part of its contract with Ford. The amount is based on the automaker's full-year, pre-tax North American profits.
While the checks are no doubt a welcome supplement to the workers' pay, and workers still need to pay taxes on them, the size is down from the average of $9,000 distributed last year. In 2016, workers received average profit-sharing checks of $9,300, which was a record high.
General Motors is expected to announce the size of its profit-sharing checks on Feb. 6 when it discloses its earnings. GM has nearly 2,600 UAW-represented workers at its two area plants, in Tonawanda and Lockport.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which does not have a manufacturing presence in the Buffalo Niagara region, announced profit-sharing checks averaging $5,500 for its UAW-represented workers. The automaker is also giving $2,000 bonuses it will give to all of its workers following the tax overhaul.
As hourly workers collect their profit-sharing checks for 2017, the auto industry is looking ahead to this year. Some forecasts call for a decline in U.S. auto sales this year. The National Automobile Dealers Association has predicted sales of 16.7 million new cars and trucks this year.
While 17.2 million was a robust sales figure, it was still down from 17.6 million in 2016, according to Autodata figures, and was the first such decline since the end of the Great Recession. The drop ended a seven-year streak of increases.