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UAW Ford workers can expect profit-sharing payouts down 45%

Ford Motor Co.'s 2020 profit-sharing payouts of up to $3,625 for eligible hourly United Auto Workers members will be down roughly 45% from the year before, the automaker said Thursday.

The lower payments, to be made in March, are a direct consequence of the eight-week manufacturing shutdown last spring amid the COVID-19 pandemic that walloped the top and bottom lines of Ford and its rivals.

In 2020, Ford paid up to $6,600 to 53,000 eligible employees, the smallest payout of the Detroit Three automakers.

"I didn’t think we were going to get one," Brad Crozier, 56, who works at Ford's Sterling Axle Plant, said of the smaller checks this year, "just because we’ve been off work for so long. Anything is better than nothing."

In this Sunday, April 5, 2020, photograph, the blue oval sign stands over a Ford dealership in Denver.

The Dearborn automaker, in the midst of launching the newest edition of its iconic F-150 pickup and increasing investment in development of next-generation electric vehicles, announced the payouts as part of its report on full-year and fourth-quarter 2020 financial results. 

The profit-sharing checks are part of the automaker's collective bargaining agreement with the UAW. The amount is based on the company's $3.625 billion North America pre-tax profits.

"Like all sectors, the 2020 pandemic caused many challenges in our industry," UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said in a statement. "And while profit sharing for UAW members may not be what we are used to, our members-negotiated benefit has preserved profit sharing checks even during a dark year when many other employers may be reluctant to share in profits."

A Ford spokesperson could not immediately say Thursday how many UAW workers would be eligible for the 2020 payouts. Rivals General Motors Co. and Stellantis NV will announce their profit-sharing amounts when they report full-year earnings on Wednesday and on March 3, respectively.

GM paid 44,000 UAW members up to $8,000 in profit sharing last year. Stellantis' predecessor, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, which calculates its profit-sharing differently, awarded bonuses of up to $7,280 to roughly 44,000 workers.

MORE: Ford posts $1.3 billion loss for 2020

jgrzelewski@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @JGrzelewski

bnoble@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble