General Motors Co. may pay its 53,000 unionized hourly U.S. staff record profit-sharing checks of more than $3,000 per worker, two people familiar with the plan said.
The company hasn’t determined a specific amount and may change its plans after completing accounting for 2010, said the people, who asked not to be named because the plans haven’t been publicly disclosed. GM’s previous highest payout was $1,775 in 1999, according to the Center for Automotive Research.
Sharing the U.S. auto industry’s prosperity will be a focus of contract talks this year between the United Auto Workers and GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC. UAW President Bob King has said he aims to recover some of the $7,000 to $30,000 in concessions each worker gave up since 2005 to help U.S. automakers survive the worst market in 27 years.
“This is probably more than workers were eligible for so that they’ll feel good going into negotiations, which makes this a pre-signing bonus,” said Sean McAlinden, a former autoworker who is now chief economist with the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Lump-sum payments like this could make up 12 percent to 15 percent of compensation in the next contract.”
GM rose 19 cents to $36.89 at 12:38 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Through yesterday, the Detroit-based company’s shares climbed 11 percent from their $33 price in an initial offering last year.
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