Mercury union angry about compensation decision

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The head of the union at Mercury Marine's Fond du Lac, Wis., facility says hourly workers are upset about a decision that gives salaried workers "variable compensation" - a sum of pay that is similar to profit sharing, he said.

"It doesn't sit good with anybody here," Mark Zillges, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1947, told Gannett Wisconsin Media.

Zillges said news of the compensation, which is tied to performance goals for 2009, is insulting to hourly workers who took major concessions last year to keep Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac.

Mercury Marine spokesman Steve Fleming said the incentives from the city, county, state, as well as the changes that came from concessions during contract negotiations, "do not fund the (variable) compensation and are not in any way related to it."

Fleming said variable compensation is also referred to as "at-risk pay" because it's not always issued. In 2009, he said, Brunswick did not pay any portion of variable compensation.

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