• U.S.

WAGES: Guaranteed Paychecks

2 minute read

One reason for unrest in automobile Labor is that the unavoidable peaks and valleys of production keep men on three shifts part of the year, completely idle at other times. To help level out the automotive work-year. Franklin Roosevelt persuaded the industry to move its annual Show from January to November. But this was only a mild palliative and Detroit has lately gossiped that Henry Ford was about to put his men on an annual wage.† This week not Ford but General Motors did that very thing for its 150,000 hourly wage employes. Announced by General Motors Chairman Alfred P. Sloan Jr.— without mention of potent United Automobile Workers of America—were two plans for 1939.

An Income Security Plan for all em-ployes of five years’ experience who are in G. M.’s employ this December will insure a weekly paycheck of at least 60% of their standard weekly earnings (pay for 40 hours at the latest average hourly rate). This weekly guarantee will consist of a) pay for work done; b) unemployment compensation; c) an advance by G. M. to bring the total to the guaranteed level. The advance is made only on the request of an employe, is repayable only in work and without interest. When weekly earnings are over 60% the employe will repay the advance at the rate of one half the excess. Should an employe die, the unpaid advance is canceled.

For employes of two years or more but less than five years’ standing a Lay-Off Benefit Plan will guarantee 40% of their standard weekly earnings under the same general conditions except that the total advance is limited to 72 hours’ earnings.

Some 75% of G. M.’s hourly wage em-ployes are eligible to participate in these plans. The company is working on another scheme for its salaried workers.

Both plans can be voided by fire, floods, wars, riots, strikes or other events beyond G. M.’s control except general economic conditions. Said Chairman Sloan: “While the Corporation may sustain a considerable loss, I believe that the greater security provided under the Plans, and the better relations that such cooperation will promote between the Corporation and the em-ployes benefited, will justify the costs involved.”

-)*Now in effect in only a few progressive companies like the Nunn-Bush Shoe Co. and never attempted by most heavy industry.

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