No profit-sharing check for most workers at GM


CHICAGO -- There will be no profit-sharing checks for the majority of General Motors Corp.'s 325,000 workers in the United States, President Jack Smith said yesterday.

Next Thursday GM will report that its North American car and truck business, which lost $17 billion between 1990 and 1992, at least broke even last year before taxes, interest and the cost of retiree health care.

But GM did not do well enough in the United States for most workers to qualify for profit-sharing.

The exception is at Saturn, GM's popular small-car division, whose 8,543 workers received a record bonus of about $5,100 each after reaching production and profitability goals during 1993.

Last month Chrysler Corp. announced that its U.S. hourly workers will receive an average of $4,300 each in profit-sharing. Next week, Ford Motor Co. is expected to announce a smaller, but still substantial distribution to its American workers.

GM workers have paid a greater share of their medical bills, pushed themselves to be more productive and contributed in a major way to the company's improvement. But GM's turnaround is not complete.

"We have to work harder," Mr. Smith said before a speech at the Chicago Auto Show. "We don't have the job done."

Also, Mr. Smith said GM will not abandon its electric car program, but asked the California Air Resources Board and regulators in 12 Northeast states to push back their 1998 deadline for bringing battery-powered cars to market.

Those states are requiring that electric cars account for at least two percent of each manufacturer's sales by 1998.

That percentage would gradually rise to 10 percent by 2003.

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