UAW accuses American Axle of greed

July 2, 2011 http://detnews.com/article/20110702/AUTO01/107020331

UAW accuses American Axle of greed

ALISA PRIDDLE
/ The Detroit News

The United Auto Workers union Friday accused automotive supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. of “corporate greed gone amuck,” following a decision to close its Detroit facilities.

“The UAW is angry about AAM’s decision to close its Detroit plant after our members made real sacrifices to make the plant competitive and viable,” UAW President Bob King said in a statement.

“This is another example of corporate greed gone amuck. AAM earned record profits of $115 million in 2010 with net income of $37 million in the first quarter of 2011 and still it is abandoning Detroit.”

On Thursday, American Axle told 300 workers at the Detroit manufacturing facilities that the complex will close after the labor agreement expires Feb. 25.

The company blamed the closing on waning demand for body-on-frame trucks and SUVs requiring the axles that the Detroit facilities make.

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada oversaw negotiations to continue operations at the plant, which supplies axles and steering linkages to General Motors Co. for use in its full-size pickups.

“UAW members found dramatic cost savings to make the Detroit plant competitive, and instead of assigning enough work to keep the facility open and profitable, AAM is running from Detroit,” she said.

Company spokesman Chris Son said not all of the union’s details are factual and the decision to close the plant is final.

American Axle plants in Three Rivers, Mich., and Silao, Mexico, also supply GM pickup assembly plants. The supplier has not said where the Detroit work will move to. Three Rivers is closer to GM’s Flint and Fort Wayne, Ind., truck assembly plants but American Axle has already moved some work to Mexico, which supplies GM plants in that country as well as one in Arlington, Texas.

UAW Local 22 President George McGreggor said the membership agreed to significant changes to keep the Detroit facility open.

“In recent negotiations, the union agreed to additional concessions and a long list of AAM demands to eliminate contract language, modify work rules and give the company the flexibility to institute alternative work schedules,” McGreggor said.

The UAW said it is open to further discussions.

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