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Detroit Rewards Salaried Workers With Big Bonuses

But could that touch off trouble with hourly employees?

by on Feb.14, 2011

Workers on and off Detroit's assembly lines will be seeing bonuses this year.

Chrysler Group and General Motors are using bonuses to reward salaried employees who survived the long, bitter recession.

Almost 11,000 salaried workers at Chrysler will receive an average bonus of $10,000, according to various reports.  But the planned handout may touch off a rift in the company’s ranks, according to employees familiar with the plans, who indicate many employees believe the rewards are inherently unfair and biased against blue-collar workers.

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Meanwhile, GM’s 26,000 white-collar workers will also see performance bonuses this year, the automaker has acknowledged. While GM hasn’t released its final financial report for 2010, the maker also appears to pay its 53,000 U.S. unionized hourly employees profit-sharing checks amounting to $3,000.

Ford has been relatively cautious on salaried pay, limiting raises but promising merit bonuses equal to 10% of base pay to select salaried employees.