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Revived Chrysler rewards hourly workers with early bonus

(Reuters) - Chrysler group LLC said on Friday it will pay its hourly workers represented by the United Auto Workers union the second half of a $3,500 ratification bonus earlier than required by a labor agreement.

The company said the early payment, which will be made on December 21, was to acknowledge the "dedication" of the workers as the U.S. automaker's sales have grown.

Chrysler, which is controlled by Fiat , said it was waiving the financial threshold outlined in the labor agreement reached with the UAW in October 2011 that would not have made the payment possible until the first quarter of 2013.

"This waiver of the four-quarter requirement is made in recognition of the tremendous contribution you have all made to the performance of our facilities and to the revival of Chrysler," Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said in a letter to employees.

According to the agreement, Chrysler said UAW members were to receive the bonus in two equal payments with the initial piece paid upon ratification followed by the second payment if certain financial goals were met for four consecutive quarters.

Chrysler said about 26,200 hourly workers represented by the UAW are eligible for the payment. The payment is in addition to the $500 quality-related bonus that will be paid on December 7.

(Reporting By Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Grant McCool)

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