Factory workers at Chrysler plants in the U.S. are getting $1,500 profit-sharing cheques next month, a sign the automaker is turning around.

Workers at Chrysler’s Canadian factories will not receive cheques because the Canadian Autoworkers Union opposes profit-sharing in favour of annual wage increases.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has put pressure on the CAW in advance of contract talks this year.

"The Canadian system needs to be as competitive as the American side," Marchionne said to reporters at the North American International Auto Show in January. "They are not today. We need to find a way to make them more competitive."

In the U.S., the United Auto Workers accepted a contract with two-tiered wages and profit sharing. Both are opposed by the head of the Canadian Autoworkers union, Ken Lewenza.


A worker on the production line at Chrysler's plant in Windsor, Ont., works on an engine for one of the company's new minivans. ((Geoff Robins/Canadian Press))

Chrysler employs 4,500 workers at its Windsor, Ont., assembly plant, 3,500 assembly workers in Brampton, Ont., and 300 at a facility in Toronto's west end.

The CAW did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

About 26,000 U.S. workers should get payments, according to Chrysler's contract with the UAW. The figure is based on an Associated Press analysis of company earnings and the labour contract formula for profit-sharing. The CAW has been opposed to profit-sharing since it split from the UAW in 1984.

Chrysler would not say how much the workers would get. But the formula in its new four-year contract with the UAW shows that the cheques would be about $1,500. The amount is based on Chrysler's $2-billion operating profit for 2011, reported on Wednesday.

Chrysler reported full-year net income of $183 million, its first since 1997.

With files from the Associated Press