Friday, July 01, 2011

UAW Accuses American Axle of 'Corporate Greed Gone Amuck'

July 1, 2011

UAW accuses American Axle of ‘corporate greed gone amuck’

The Detroit News

A day after American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. told workers it is closing its Detroit manufacturing facilities, the United Auto Workers union has issued a statement accusing the automotive supplier of "corporate greed gone amuck."

"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 today.

"This is another example of corporate greed gone amuck," King said. "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 held town hall meetings to tell the 300 workers in the Detroit manufacturing facilities that the complex will close after the current labor agreement expires Feb. 25, 2012.

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

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada oversaw negotiations over the past six months to reach a contract to continue operating the plant, which supplies front and rear 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," Estrada said.

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 of the work to Mexican operations that supply GM plants in that country as well as the Arlington, Texas, plant.

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. "AAM reacted to this by announcing the closing of the Detroit plant."

The UAW feels American Axle is walking away from a competitive offer at a viable site and the union says it is open to further discussions of future products to keep the Detroit plant open.

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