DETROIT -- Tower Automotive Inc.'s latest contract proposal to its unions late Thursday, Feb. 23 has spurred new negotiations between the ailing auto parts supplier and its unions, a company spokesman said Friday.
The sides have traded proposals this week. They're trying to negotiate deal before a Monday, Feb. 27 hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York where Tower will ask to cancel its union contracts with the UAW, United Steelworkers and IUE-CWA. A ruling could come by March 13.
Union workers have voted to strike if the court allows Tower to void the contracts. The supplier's hourly unionized workers make $13 to $15 an hour. It has about 6,000 workers in the United States, two-thirds of whom are covered by union agreements.
Tower and the unions met Monday, Feb. 20, and the unions made a proposal they said would make the company profitable. Tower spokesman Joel Weiden said little progress was made at that session, and the unions issued a statement two days later saying Tower had chosen "confrontation instead of cooperation."
The supplier moved to void its union contracts and modify retiree benefits on Jan. 4.
The UAW would not comment on the latest development.
Tower, of Novi, Mich., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 2, 2005. The supplier ranks No. 45 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $3.20 billion in 2004.
You may e-mail Greg Migliore at [email protected]