BUSINESS
01/13/2011 04:02 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Some Detroit Auto Workers Getting Big Checks After Industry's Rebound

Blue collar auto-workers in Detroit are about to reap some of the benefits from the auto industry's recent success on Wall Street.

Industry analysts and company officials told The New York Times that Ford and General Motors, Detroit's two biggest car manufacturers, will be cutting dividend checks this month for their hourly wage earners. The payouts, an expected $5,000 to Ford workers, may be the largest workers have seen in a decade, according to the The New York Times. Less is expected for GM's workers.

But anything is better than the situation GM workers were in two years ago when the company collapsed - cutting 40,000 union positions in five years according to the NYT - and had to be bailed out by US taxpayers and the government.

This good news for GM workers comes on the heels of good news for their boss earlier this week when General Motor's electric Chevy Volt won the North America Car of the Year award at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday.

GM's chief executive, Daniel F. Akerson, is hoping that the overall feeling of a bright future - fueled by recent successes in innovation and rising stock prices - will temper the historically combative tone of talks with the labor union whose contracts must be renegotiated this summer. And there "are some early indications that this year might be different," according to The New York Times.

One of those indications is Ford and GM's strong position in emerging markets. Reuters reported that a big reasons GM had such a successful IPO back in mid-November was because investors saw GM's prospects in China and Brazil as "relatively attractive."

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Ford reported sales in China had increased 40 percent, delivering 582,467 vehicles to the largest car market in the world, according to Bloomberg. Many of those sales were from customers buying Ford's Focus compact cars and their Fiesta subcompacts.