In what may be a surprise for many UAW-represented workers at General Motors, the profit-sharing checks this year will top those they got last year despite a year plagued with production disruption because of the global shortage of semiconductor chips.
On Tuesday, General Motors said about 42,500 U.S. hourly workers at GM will receive a profit-sharing check of $10,250 this month. The before-taxes payout for its UAW-represented workforce for the year 2021 is a boost from $9,000 in 2020.
“General Motors is proud to provide our hourly employees with among the highest profit-sharing payments in the auto industry,” said GM spokesman Dan Flores. “In fact, eligible hourly employees have earned more than $72,000 each in profit-sharing since 2015.”
Flores said GM’s financial results last year will help secure a strong future for all employees, “as we continue to invest billions of dollars in our U.S. manufacturing operations and create thousands of jobs across the country.”
Last week, GM said it would invest $7 billion in four manufacturing sites in Michigan, including to build a new battery factory in Lansing. The investment will create 4,000 jobs and retain 1,000 jobs, GM said.
GM’s North American pretax profit for 2021 was $10.3 billion, up from $9.1 billion in 2020.
Flores said GM was able to create a stronger result for profit-sharing this year because it directed the chip parts it could get to its most profitable products, which are full-size pickups and big SUVs.
“In 2021, the entire GM team delivered, including the manufacturing and supply chain organizations, by working with our supply base to mitigate the impacts of the semiconductor situation,” Flores said. “We leveraged every available semiconductor to build and ship our most popular and in-demand products.”
In 2019, the hourly workforce got $8,000 checks. The highest payout came in 2016 at $12,000 per employee.
The GM-negotiated formula with the UAW for profit-sharing checks is $1,000 per every $1 billion in annual earnings before interest and taxes.
Flores said if an hourly employee accrued 1,850 or more compensated hours during 2021, they would receive the full payout.
GM said eligible workers will receive their checks on Feb. 25.
In the National Agreement GM has with the UAW, temporary employees are not eligible for profit-sharing. Employees at GM’s Brownstown Battery facility and DMAX diesel engine facility in Moraine, Ohio, are also not eligible as well as subsystems employees, which are typically the material-handling type jobs in assembly plants. They are UAW-represented, but they are under a different national agreement, Flores said.
“Otherwise, all of our other UAW and splinter unions are eligible,” Flores said.
UAW Vice President and Director of the GM Department Terry Dittes said the profit-sharing checks are a benefit that was “achieved through collective bargaining and our UAW members have earned a share of the prosperity that their skill, hard work and dedication created. Our members should be proud during a challenging year at this achievement. We continue to talk to our local unions and General Motors about some of the unforeseen challenges UAW members faced this year.”
Ford Motor Co. reports its earnings on Thursday. For 2020, Ford’s 56,000 union represented factory workers in the U.S. received $3,625 profit-sharing checks.
Stellantis will release 2021 earnings later this month. Last year, about 43,000 workers for Fiat Chrysler, as it was known then, averaged a payout of $8,010.