• Feb 26th 2008 at 4:31PM
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In a move that may threaten production at General Motors, the United Auto Workers union went on strike against American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. earlier today. The UAW work stoppage, the third called by the union within the past six months, centered around wages, benefits, and concerns that the company may be moving production to Mexico.

American Axle is the sole axle supplier to GM for light trucks such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. The company supplies axles, shafts, and related components to other automakers, as well. As the four-year contract with the UAW neared the end of its term and the strike loomed, American Axle did stockpile its inventory. It is unclear, however, just how much supply is on hand. It may not need to last long, as analysts expect a negotiated settlement to end the strike within several days. This is good news for everyone, especially the workers who are walking the picket lines outside in the freezing snow.

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd, Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      You would think these dopes would have learned something from the AAM plant that was in Buffalo. It is gone!! I lost my job and the union stood by and waved bye-bye just like everyone else from Detroit. We were the sacrificial lamb of the corporation. It WILL happen again!
      • 7 Years Ago
      @Chad, your correct, a tariff on imports would help level the playing field. Must be politics.

      @Johne, I was a union worked for 14 or 15 years. The workers are lazy and do the bare minimum expecting high pay and medical benefits. Now, self employed I learned the value of working hard, this was never rewarded in a union shop, you get what you get simply by not getting fired, which in large unions is tough to get done. Many products suffer from quality because of the laziness and cost of unionized workers. Many companies have gone under or left to get away from these unions. Sadly, one of the first thing a company considers when times get tough is cutting pay or hours, if you have a union, their logical choice is to break it. Thats why the unionized people in this country have shrunk so much. Well, that and maybe some people want more then a mortgage on a crappy ranch home and a Ford Taurus and in the union, you make what you make.

      In the USA I pay about 650 a month just for my health care, plus co-pays, one month I had a 2,000 total medical bill when everyone needed medical, dental and some optical. These guys have no concept what health care costs and what they earn just for that. I also work very hard to make MORE money and get more business, its what makes a company successful. If my small business had 20 lazy employees, I would be out of business. Finally, I have seen the so called union leaders, they will try and get you a piece of what you want, then get back to work, in the meantime it can take years to recover what a 3 months strike cost you in wages. Your union might offer you a few buck for a couple weeks because guess what, they are a business too. Its a joke, always has been. Thats why no one shows up to rally, its too damn cold and most expect it to be over within a month or two with little benefit to themselves, so why bother.

      Thats how it is, unbiased.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "I was a union worked for 14 or 15 years. The workers are lazy " What did you do for those 14 or 15 years,did you try to change things,extol the virtues of hard work to your fellow workers? I won't say that there are lazy "union" workers,there are lazy workers in private sector,fast food etc. My point is you cannot paint every union worker w/the same broad stroke,unless you are admitting to being lazy for 14 or 15 years while enjoying the benefits of union contracts. There is a wave of media that is trying to blame unions for the cause of the weak economy in US,common sense(I would hope) would see thru that. Every year corporate America tries to erode the workers rights for their monetary benefit. That's great if you are a stockholder but what about the rest of us (99%)? Just something to think about,there is a lot of blame to go around,don't heap it on the working. Just my .02...let the flaming begin!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well said, MajorGeek.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree, unions back in the day were important. NOT NOW. ALL unions are crap. Where else can you find 5 guys watching one person digging, or one person actually working.
      • 7 Years Ago
      These guys are so clueless it hurts.

      "Pay me double what the competitors charge for the same product or I'll walk in circles by the gate!"

      Good luck with that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Thats putting their skill set to the test! If they could assemble cars and trucks with the precsion they can walk in circles both Ford and GM would be in much better shape!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I personally think we should slap tariffs on foreign branded and/or manufactured autos. That includes domestic branded built in other countries. Japan does it, why shouldn't we?
      • 7 Years Ago
      yep, mgmt has played a heavy hand in the downfall of american car companies, no doubt.

      but union workers as a group tend to be much more short-sighted and rather than look at the state of the union, look at how to get the most for them (and then the union bosses take their cut as well). Basically supporting the union means supporting another company that doesnt have a product (kind of like government sometimes).

      of course mgmt in the US tends not to look past the current quarter's profits thanks to whoring out to those only interested in a quick return on investment.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Well alot has been said. Who is right an who is wrong? Only time will tell. I would like to add my two cents though. I was told that AAM worker make $70.00 an hour. Well I find that very hard to believe. I don't even think GM workers make that much working on the line. However, I'm a skilled worker who has gone to trade school and took an apprenticeship for 4 yrs at a significant loss in pay. Why? To try and better myself. I believe we all have the luck of the lottery in life. Some people will get jobs at places like the big three which pay big bucks for general labourers, well good for them. They one the lottery. Why? Well I guess it's because in the hay days of the big three they could pay unionized workers whatever they wanted when contract time came on. Why? Well I guess they didn't want to loose out on making cars so they caved into the unions. Why? Because they could afford to at the time. Who was their competition ? The other big three. Japenese automakers were no competition at the time. Korean car makers were unheard of. Well guess what now they are and the flood gates aren't being stopped. The big three aren't so big anymore. They can't afford to pay the wages unionized workers demand now. My honest oppion is that people are over paid. People get bitter when something affects their lifestyle. Taking a pay cut I would imagine would greatly affect a persons lifestyle now wouldn't it. Well people I think need to wake up and smell the coffee. We live in a global economy now so it's not difficult now for a company to pick up and leave and go where there is no union where there is cheap labour. That is the reality of todays global economy. Who is going to suffer then? I think we all will. What is the answer? I don't know but I do have an opinion. Maybe we should take a cut to keep our jobs. I mean how does the person who works for half the money that most of the big three make survive? I bet there are people who live on less than a quarter of what most make at the big three. I would also like to add. How hard is it for a person working on a line to do their job? Does it take 4 years to train a person to perform their job? How hard is it to put a bolt on a part when it comes to them on the line. Is there any problem solving skills they need to apply in doing their task? I'm a tool and die maker working in a stamping plant and my job requires skill and problem solving skills. Alot of pressure comes along with the job but I deal with it as it comes. I am jealous that a guy off the street can make more than me on the line thats why I say they have won the lottery. Oh well I'll wait for the replys
      • 7 Years Ago
      Its to bad that people think bad of the union. Im a union member, and i worke hard every day. Yes its true there are lazy workers out there!!!! But not everybody is like that. But when you are a single minded person, who probably drives a forgein car!!! And probably has no problem with the teachers union!!! Just the uaw. Just look what food cost,medical cost,and everything else!!!! I KNOW ITS THE UNION WORKERS FAULT!!!!!! I GOT NEWS, YOU NEED TO WAKE UP!!! YOUR JOB WILL BE NEXT!!!!!!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        I hate the teachers union too for much the same reason for as I hate the UAW. You cannot fire bad teachers without going through massive legal battle or reward good teachers because its not fair to the others. The teachers union is the biggest crock out there because they never help the teachers who need it and spend billions on politcal endorsments with the teachers union dues.

        I had teacher who got caught drinking on the job and got a two week paid vacation/suspension. He came back and about a year later got caught again. He came back three weeks after that, lasted about a year and sexually harassed a student by implying a female student could get extra credit towards NHS (Natl. Honors Society) if she did a sexual favor. He got paid leave for a year and a half until he was able to retire, benefits and all.

        Meanwhile my dad put in his time as a teacher and got laid off a month before he became tenured. The union did nothing for him, no letter, no phone call, and no help finding a new job.

        Thats what unions do, suck their members dry and blow their money.
      • 7 Years Ago
      According to a Detroit News article: "The parts maker, anticipating the strike threat, accumulated about three days' worth of parts for GM. After that, however, the automaker would likely quickly feel the effect of a stoppage."

      • 7 Years Ago
      There must be a bunch of idiots who belong to autoblog!!!!!!! I rather read the free press at least there some common sense readers over there1111.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Damn these people who want more money. Don't they realize that with spiraling house prices, they should be giving money BACK??

      Wait a second....
        • 7 Years Ago
        there not asking for money, there asking to keep what they have!!!!!!lets be real, if your making 20.00 an hour and they come and tell you today we are taking away 10.00, you would to fight for what you believe in!!!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Reply to ello:

      I never said that having a college degree makes you better then someone else - I said that the time and education that I invested in myself was only done because I expect a return on it in the form of a higher wage in the marketplace. Should the time I worked my ass off in school learning NOT be rewarded somehow?

      You mentioned that the reality of the world is that when you find a job, you must be trained for it. Not 100% true. In my line of work - I had to show up knowing what to do, knowing how to carry out certain types of research, knowing how things worked. Which was the point of my education. A company that trains its workers is pulling the duty of a "college type" scenario as well they are paying to train you such that you will be a more efficient/knowledgeable worker, this fact can be represented monetarily given enough data. Ex: They pay 5000 dollars to train you at a school/class/etc, they expect a return on that investment, people walking out on the job is a slap in the face to an employer that trains you/pays all your benefits/ AND a fat wage.

      I won't argue against the fact that there ARE lazy people who hold college degrees, but I will comment on the fact that a "Fresh high school grad" earning 30 dollars/hour starting out with no formal education is excessive - my dad is almost 60 years old with 25 years managerial skills running a medium sized business and even he doesn't make that much.

      Worst case scenario argument for what I am saying - do you think its really fair for an 18 year old kid that might have just barely graduated high school to make 30 dollars an hour screwing on tires? I am not saying that all such union jobs are that simple but it's an extreme realistic case.

      I think the reason we are seeing a lot of outsourcing is because people just plain do not want to do certain jobs at the going market wage. If you are unemployed for a lengthy period, people in this country need to swallow their pride and work if they are able to work. Until the unemployment rate is 0% then there is always room for someone to make money and our economy to become stronger. If I lost my job and was unable to find something for 6 months - damn right I Would take a job at mcdonalds if I had to. Would i like it? no Would it keep all my bills paid? Barely. But it's better then standing on a picket line demanding even more from a stressed system that really owes me nothing.
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