Loosing Another Round
— The Editors
THE STRIKE AT American Axle, which we reported on in ATC 134, ended when workers voted to go back under a concessionary agreement. The 25% who voted no didn’t feel they were close to winning but they said they couldn’t look themselves in the mirror if they voted yes. Yet the strike idled nearly three dozen assembly plants and put enormous pressure on GM. The UAW did not develop a longterm relationship with the union at the AAM plant in Mexico. All during the strike that plant produced 6,000 axles a day, thus enabling GM to keep some production going.
The only positive outcome of the strike was that the company had to offer “buyout” money for those who would leave and three years of “buydown” money for those remaining. It is the first time in which autoworkers at a profitable company approved a contract in which they took severe across-the-board cuts in wages, benefits and working conditions. Under the terms of the new agreement three of the plants originally purchased from GM a decade and a half ago will be closed. In our next issue we will analyze the significance of this defeat yet also describe how the workforce is dealing with harassment and intimidation.
ATC 135, July-August 2008