By ALEXANDER WILLIS
General Motors had a strong performance in 2018, reporting on Wednesday an adjusted income, before interest and taxes, of $10.8 billion in North America.
As part of an ongoing agreement between General Motors and the United Automobile Workers (UAW), the company has announced that 46,500 of its hourly employees will receive up to $10,750 this month as their share of the company’s profits, with the majority of the 3,500 employees at the General Motors plant in Spring Hill receiving the full amount.
Chairman of the Spring Hill chapter of the UAW, Mike Herron, said this announcement was “a very good thing,” and commended his fellow workers for their stellar performance over the years.
“This is a result of two things; one of them is the hard work from the UAW team members at this plant and across the nation that build high quality vehicles everyday and made this profitability possible,” Herron said. “The other thing is the collective bargaining process that the UAW has utilized to make sure that there is a profit sharing program which allows for the team members [to] have the ability to be able to share in the profits that they’ve helped create.”
Since 2011, employees of General Motors have received a portion of the company’s profits on an annual basis. Based on the current profit sharing contract, which is set to expire this year, hourly employees receive $1,000 for every $1 billion General Motors makes in North America.
Each employee will only receive a percentage of that $1,000 based on annual hours worked, with 1,850 hours netting employees the full $1,000. In this case, the company netted $10.8 billion in 2018, resulting in the maximum profit sharing payout of $10,750 – which Herron said will be awarded to the majority of workers at the Spring Hill plant.
“The folks that I represent, that we collectively bargain for, a majority of those folks had worked 1,850 hours and will receive the $10,750,” Herron said. “The only exceptions to that would be the [temporary workers] and the supply base.”
While Herron was thrilled with the news, he said he believes everyone who had helped General Motors last year – suppliers, temporary workers, and others – should be sharing in the company’s spoils.
“If I had one regret in this whole process, it’s the fact that we have a lot of suppliers that helped create this profit and have done a fantastic job, and we’ve had some temporary workers that also helped create the profit,” Herron said. “They’re part of our team, and they need to be commended. We couldn’t do what we do without them.”
The profit sharing has even more benefits, Herron said, beyond rewarding the Spring Hill plant’s workers and their families for their work. Ultimately, Herron said, this will have a major impact on the Spring Hill community at large.
“If you own a business in this community, and having that kind of money that is disposable income in the hands of the workers, they’re going to spend some of it,” Herron said. “People are going to spend some of that, [and] that puts millions [of dollars into Spring Hill]. We’ve got 3,500 workers here in this plant, and if you figure the majority of those people are getting $10,000 checks, that’s a good thing for our community, [and] that’s a good thing for our economy.”
The majority of Spring Hill General Motors employees will receive their $10,750 profit sharing check on Feb. 22, with millions of that likely to pour back into the community’s businesses. The concept of profit sharing is also something Herron believes should be expanded to other companies, arguing that a collective incentive for a particular company to succeed can only do good.
“The good thing about profit sharing, is it focuses everybody in the company on making a profit,” Herron said. “Whether you turn the lights off, or whether you come up with an idea on how to save money, everybody knows that that will make profits for the company, which ultimately, you’re going to go ahead and share. It’s ownership mentality, versus just being used.”