Apr 14, 2008
Last week, when the UAW and American Axle went back to the bargaining table, the newspapers reported that the company was “disappointed” in an offer from the UAW. American Axle characterized the union’s proposal as “a slight improvement from the UAW’s previous bargaining positions” but said the union was not offering up enough concessions!
What is going on?
American Axle brags that it is so profitable it paid its CEO more than 257 million dollars in the last 10 years!
This same company says it wants massive concessions – to cut the workers’ wages in half and eliminate health care and defined pensions for future retirees! Basically, American Axle aims to get three people for the price of one!
Of course, the reason why they think they can get away with this is because of the huge number of concessions that other auto companies have been able to impose over the last years.
No wonder that 3,600 American Axle workers at 5 plants in Michigan and New York have been manning the picket lines for over seven weeks.
The fact that the union leaders can be talking about any cuts at all should be a warning to the American Axle workers. They are trying to sell a rotten settlement that they will claim is slightly less bad than the original company demands. This is the same trick these union leaders pulled when they imposed the huge concession contracts at the other auto companies last fall.
The workers haven’t been on strike all these weeks to have the knife stuck in 4 inches, only to be pulled out 1 inch.
And their determined fight can block this latest attack by showing other workers what they can do, and thereby begin to forge a unity among workers that is so desperately needed.
Strikes can be catching.