DETROIT American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. and the UAW reached a tentative agreement Friday morning, ending a strike that began at midnight Wednesday.
About 6,500 UAW workers at six American Axle plants in the United States were striking over job security and wages. The tentative agreement saves both, said a member of UAW Local 2093, which covers American Axles plant in Three Rivers, Mich.
This wasnt a money issue, said the worker on condition of anonymity. This was a people issue.
American Axle wanted to cut 1,500 jobs and pay lower starting wages possibly adding a three-tier wage structure nationwide. But none of that will happen under this agreement.
The job cuts would have hit two of the six plants hardest Buffalo Gear & Axle in New York and Detroit Forge essentially closing them, said Randy Sherfield, shop chairman at the Three Rivers plant.
Also striking were Tonawanda Forge and Cheektowaga Machining in New York and Detroit Gear & Axle. Only six of American Axles 11 plants in the United States are under the national contract that expired Wednesday. The suppliers headquarters is in Detroit.
The Local 2093 worker said the agreement also includes:
A spokeswoman for American Axle would not comment on terms of the agreement. Company and union officials had been negotiating since December. They worked through Thursday night to reach the tentative agreement.
American Axle workers were to return to the six striking plants for their second shift on Friday.
General Motors, the suppliers former parent, gets about 90 percent of its axles from American Axle. The strike forced the automaker to cancel the first shift at its Fort Wayne Assembly plant in Indiana, which makes the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. The shift has 1,200 workers out of 3,000 at the plant.
The second shift is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
In the UAWs last contract with American Axle, job security was strengthened and the economic gains were worth more than $29,900 to a typical UAW production worker over the four years of the contract, according to the UAW.
American Axle reported record earnings and sales last year net income of $197.1 million and sales of $3.68 billion. GM represents about 80 percent of that revenue.
With 2002 sales of $3.34 billion, American Axle ranks 10th on Automotive News list of the top suppliers to automakers in North America. The company makes driveline systems, chassis systems and forged products for the automotive industry.