The nine-day-old UAW strike on American Axle has already halted production at five GM plants and seven suppliers, and the two sides have yet to hit the bargaining table. That will change today, as both sides at least agree that they should be trying to reach an accord. The two sides are still far from agreeing on anything else, however, as American Axle wants to cut wage and benefit costs in half, even though the parts supplier is currently profitable.

Following the pattern of wage cuts at other suppliers, American Axle is prepared to offer buyout packages of $80,000 to $110,000. American Axle may also offer buy-down deals that will give workers a bonus for a number of years to cushion the blow of wage cuts. So far the strike has done little to hurt GM, as the automaker has been able to pare-down SUV and truck inventories while its plants are idled, but it's only a matter of time until the best available vehicles are gone. The 20,000 workers at GM and several suppliers that aren't working because of the strike are likely a bit more worried, but at least the two sides are talking.

[Source: Detroit News]


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