American Axle strike hits 29 GM plants

March 8, 2008 at 8:09 AM
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DETROIT, March 8 (UPI) -- American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. and the striking United Auto Workers union are holding talks this weekend.

The Detroit News reported that industry observers say even as negotiations inch forward it is becoming apparent that General Motors Corp. will need to intervene to end the 11-day strike.

Detroit-based American Axle is seeking to cut hourly wages for production workers from $28.15 to $14.50 and cut 1,000 plant jobs.

General Motors, which is American Axle's largest customer, could be forced to partially shutdown 29 factories Monday because of the walkout, the newspaper reported.

Although GM has publicly stayed on the sidelines of the dispute, that could change soon, Erich Merkle, automotive analyst at IRN Inc., told the News.

"Eventually GM will have to jump in and mediate the situation; and when GM mediates, they have to bring their pocket book," he said, adding that it's likely that GM will help American Axle pay for buyouts and bonuses to workers.

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