Sunday, December 23, 2012

A fiscal bump for autoworkers

With everyone focused on the looming "fiscal cliff," its easy to miss just how much our economy is actually improving. Nowhere is that more in evidence than the one sector where President Obama intervened most effectively...the auto industry.
Union workers at Detroit's two largest auto makers are on track for big profit-sharing payouts for this year.

Officials at the United Auto Workers union have told members employed at General Motors Co. to expect profit-sharing checks for as much as $7,000 early next year, according to two people briefed on the matter. Over at Ford Motor Co., which is more profitable than GM in North America, the 2012 payouts could top $8,000, based on a pay formula spelled out in the UAW contract...

Because of that success, about 50,000 GM hourly employees will likely receive payments ranging between $5,500 and $7,000, said the people familiar with the matter. Ford's approximate 44,000 hourly workers could get paid more than $8,000 a piece. The estimates are based on UAW contract terms that essentially have eligible workers receiving $1 extra for every $1 million in operating profit Ford or GM generates in North America.

The final amounts won't be known until both companies close out the fourth quarter and announce their financial results. Checks would go out in March.
Its important to remember that these bonuses were part of the what the UAW agreed to as part of the bail-out in exchange for lower starting pay as well as reductions in some health benefits and lower cost of living adjustments.

But this is about something more than a celebration for these autoworkers. Its about what can happen when we work together to solve problems. We know that's what President Obama, Congressional Democrats and the majority of the American people want. I also believe that there are some Congressional Republicans who know that is the only way to avoid the insanity that has taken hold lately. That's why its time for some profiles in courage.

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