GM workers to receive share of 2018 profits

Each at Lordstown will collect up to $11,750

Special to the Salem News

LORDSTOWN — Autoworkers at the GM Lordstown Plant will each collect up to $11,750 in profit-sharing toward the end of February after the car-making giant released its 2017 earnings report Tuesday.

The amount is a slight dip from the maximum $12,000 employees at the plant were eligible for last year, breaking a five-year streak of the payments increasing every year.

Employees were eligible to receive up to $11,000 in 2016 and up to $9,000 in 2015. The maximum amount will be paid to employees who worked the maximum amount of hours — 1,850 — in 2017, said Glenn Johnson, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, which now represents all of the approximately 3,000 workers at the facility.

“Those that worked less than that amount will receive a prorated amount,” Johnson said.

The profit-sharing will be paid on Feb. 23 to the company’s 50,000 union factory workers based on a full-year pretax North American profit of $11.9 billion.

Locally, the infusion can “help make a significant impact in taverns, restaurants, movies, grocery stores — all the things that make our community how great it is,” said Johnson.

The Lordstown plant is where the Chevrolet Cruze sedan is produced. Despite U.S. deliveries waning significantly in January compared to the previous year, the Cruze was still No. 4 on Chevrolet’s list of top-selling vehicles last month, according to sales figures released by the automaker Thursday.

The decrease comes in line with consumer preference trending away from smaller vehicles to SUVs, trucks and crossovers.

“It’s not that we don’t have a world-class workforce and a world-class vehicle, but consumer preference has shifted away from cars in general, especially small cars,” Johnson said. “The Cruze is still a huge part of the (GM) portfolio and we’re looking forward to opportunities in the future to recapture our customers.”

GM on Tuesday reported a $3.9 billion net loss for 2017 driven largely by a $7.3 billion accounting charge. Excluding one-time items, GM made $9.9 billion, or $6.62 per share, the greatest since leaving bankruptcy in 2009.

The earnings beat Wall Street estimates. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $6.33 per share. Full-year revenue was $145.6 billion, which also topped expectations.

GM said the rewrite of the U.S. tax code forced it to write down accumulated losses that it uses to avoid income taxes. Assets fell from $33.6 billion, to $24 billion. Since the corporate tax rate dropped from 35 percent to 21 percent, the losses are worth less.

The company won’t pay much in U.S. corporate taxes until after 2022 or 2023.

For the fourth quarter, GM posted a $5.2 billion net loss due to the accounting charge. Without charges, the company made $2.4 billion, or $1.65 per share, soundly beating analyst estimates of $1.39.

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