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Chrysler factory workers to get $1,500 checks

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Chrysler predicted that its US auto sales will increase by more than 1 million, to about 14 million, in 2012.

DETROIT - Factory workers at Chrysler will get profit-sharing checks of about $1,500 next month as they share in the automaker’s turnaround.

About 26,000 union-represented workers in the United States should get the payments under Chrysler’s contract with the United Auto Workers union that was signed last fall.

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Chrysler wouldn’t say how much the workers will get. The profit-sharing figure is based on an Associated Press analysis of company earnings, and the labor contract formula for profit-sharing.

The checks are based on Chrysler’s $2 billion operating profit for 2011, reported Wednesday. Chrysler reported full-year net income of $183 million, its first since 1997.

The payments are another sign that Chrysler has recovered from its near-collapse in 2009, when it needed a $12.5 billion government bailout and a trip through bankruptcy protection to stay in business. Chrysler has since repaid its US and Canadian government loans by refinancing them, but the US government says it will lose about $1.3 billion on the bailout, which included Chrysler’s financial arm.

Chrysler predicted an even better 2012 with total US sales projected to rise by more than 1 million to about 14 million. On Wednesday, the company said its January sales rose 44 percent compared with a year earlier.

Ford will make profit-sharing payments of around $6,200 to its 41,600 US hourly employees in March. GM workers are expected to get more than the $4,000 they received last year.

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