Salaried bonuses ready-made for UAW bulletin boards

David Barkholz is a staff reporter for Automotive News
Here's a gentle reminder to Detroit 3 CEOs Dan Akerson, Alan Mulally and Sergio Marchionne:

You're in a negotiating year with the UAW.

The huge salaried bonuses you've OK'd -- which dwarf those of hourly autoworkers -- are not playing well on the assembly line.

Chrysler Group's average 2010 bonus for a salaried workers will reportedly be $10,000 -- or more than 13 times the $750 each hourly worker will receive.

Gary Walkowicz, a UAW bargaining committeeman representing workers at the Ford Rouge plant in Dearborn, Mich., said the outsized salaried bonuses show that the automaker has the money and apparent willingness to cut select workers a bigger share of the company's success.

He said he and many of his co-workers want a real raise as part of a new labor contract to be negotiated in September, not just a bonus like the ones hourly workers received this year.

Raises, after all, have the advantage of accruing and compounding over time.

“This is just one more reason to push harder to get back the concessions we've given up,” said Walkowicz, who ran a protest campaign against Bob King at last year's UAW convention for the union's presidency.

Those concessions by the Detroit 3's 120,000 UAW-represented workers have totaled $7,000 to $30,000 per worker since 2005, by King's own account.

King wants to claw back some of those sacrifices when he goes to negotiate new labor agreements with Detroit automakers this year. The current four-year contracts expire in September.

These new salaried bonuses will make those master talks just that much more interesting.

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