Production and maintenance supervisors at Volkswagen Chattanooga announced to their teams a $1.50 base wage increase. The starting production rate will increase to $17.50 from $16, and the starting maintenance rate will increase to $25.20 from $23.70.
It is the latest step in a series of improvements made by the new leadership team at Volkswagen Chattanooga.
“We have an exciting product portfolio now,” said Tom du Plessis, president and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga.
“Our Atlas has been a tremendous success, and we are looking forward to launching the Atlas Cross Sport this spring. We are increasing our volume in the SUV market, building for the US in the US. Our team should see the benefits of our success because they are the ones who help make it possible.”
Prior to the wage announcement, the factory implemented a new self-driven bonus system. Employees will see the first payout of this new system on Feb. 28.
Developed in response to employee feedback, the company’s bonuses will now be based on attendance and workplace conduct, two elements completely controlled by the individual. In total, a 16 percent bonus is achievable. Bonuses will be calculated on top of paid hours, including shift premiums and overtime rates. Portions of the bonus are paid monthly and quarterly.
The plant’s previous bonus structure was based on a mix of individual, shop-specific and Company-wide targets of attendance, productivity, safety and quality.
“Simplifying our bonus system and putting employees in the driver’s seat has been a top priority for us,” said Mr. du Plessis. “We looked at targets they could own independently which can also impact our overall safety, quality and productivity. The bonus system is much easier to understand now, and the response we’ve received from the team has been overwhelmingly positive.”
With overtime, bonus and shift differential, production employees have an earning potential of around $46 per hour, and maintenance employees can earn up to around $58 per hour on off-shift overtime.
To help manage increasing demand for the Volkswagen Atlas while simultaneously launching both the 2020 Passat and new Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, the Company polled employees on preferred shift models and work schedules. Based on employee preference, Assembly and Paint shops will return to a five-day work-week with two nine-hour shifts beginning the first week of March 2020. Other shops are planning to return to a five-day work week, with three eight-hour shifts in Body Shop and two 10-hour shifts with an alternating day off for Finish and Quality Assurance. Employees also voted on preferred shift start-times as well as dates for summer shutdown.