Chrysler workers are getting an unexpected holiday present. The automaker says it is paying a bonus they weren’t supposed to get until next year ahead of time.
Chrysler’s union-represented employees will receive the second half of the $3,500 ratification bonus they got for approving their latest contract on Dec. 21. Had Chrysler stuck to the original language in the contract it signed with the United Auto Workers union in 2011 workers would not have received payment until at least the first quarter of 2013.
“This waiver of the four-quarter requirement is made in recognition of the tremendous contribution you have all made to the performance of our facilities and to the revival of Chrysler,” Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO, said in a letter to employees.
“You have made extraordinary efforts to meet our production needs in order to satisfy the steadily increasing consumer demand for our products,” he stressed. “You have also demonstrated a great level of commitment and cooperation in building a solid future for our company, bringing the weight of your professional and personal qualities to the achievement of our goals,” he said.
Under the national contract Chrysler Group reached with the UAW in October 2011, UAW members were to receive the $3,500 ratification bonus in two equal payments with an initial amount of $1,750 paid upon ratification followed by another $1,750 payment if certain financial goals were met for four consecutive quarters.
The Company is waiving that four-quarter requirement, it said, in acknowledgment of the dedication shown by its hourly workforce. Chrysler Group now expects to make more than $1 billion in operating profit this year.
All UAW employees who were eligible for the first bonus payment, approximately 26,200, qualify for the second $1,750 payment. This payment is in addition to the minimum $500 Quality Bonus that will be paid to U.S.-represented employees on Dec. 7.
Three facilities – Dundee Engine Plant (Mich.), Toledo Assembly Complex (Ohio) and Portland Parts Distribution Center (Ore.) – will receive $625 for maintaining or achieving certain WCM or quality metrics. The St. Louis Parts Distribution Center (Mo.) will receive $1,000.
“We appreciate Sergio’s and Chrysler’s willingness to recognize the contributions of our members at this time of the year,” said General Holiefield, UAW Vice President of the Chrysler Department. “This additional money in the paychecks of UAW members is well-earned, but it doesn’t just benefit them; they will spend that money in their communities, providing a well-needed boost to local economies across the country.”