Don't hogtie yourself to bonus payments

Take care. Steer clear of contract clauses that commit you to nonrevocable bonuses. A New England manufacturing employer learned this lesson the hard way. The company had paid Christmas bonuses for as long as most veteran employees could remember.


Take care. Steer clear of contract clauses that commit you to nonrevocable bonuses. A New England manufacturing employer learned this lesson the hard way.

The company had paid Christmas bonuses for as long as most veteran employees could remember. But during the past 2 yr, sales had declined, causing a "Management regrets" message to be posted on the bulletin board announcing that bonuses would be omitted this year.

A storm of protest ensued. Among beefs heard: "I look forward to that bonus and consider it a regular part of my salary." "If not for the bonus, I would have been out of here long ago." "I already had the money spent."

A committee of three persuaded Maintenance Manager Arthur Metcalf to intercede on their behalf.

"The crew's up in arms," Metcalf told his boss, Plant Engineer Vincent Abruzzio. "Morale has never been lower. They act like we're taking the bread out of their mouths."

Abruzzio frowned. "Precedence has been set, so they may have a point. I'll give the matter some thought and get back to you."

Question: What do you think? Is a bonus a gift, or a forever commitment?

Plant engineer's prescription: Abruzzio tried to persuade the company's general manager to reinstate the Christmas bonus.

"For one thing," he said, "our wage scale is lower than many of our competitors. For another, in the past, the anticipated bonus has caused some employees to stay who might have otherwise quit. In addition, while the labor agreement doesn't specifically commit to the annual bonus, its longtime disbursement fuels worker expectations to receive it. Finally, the morale damage caused by discontinuing it could more than outweigh the benefit gained from its omission."

The outcome was that the bonus for this year was reinstated. However, it was also made clear to management and the employees that a new contract clause would specify that in the future, business conditions would be a factor in determining whether or not bonus payments were affordable.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me