DETROIT — As the Detroit 3 tout the benefits of their new, concessionary UAW contracts, several supplier CEOs are eager for "me-too" deals with the union.
But getting the UAW's agreement may be difficult. Take American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc.
American Axle CEO Richard E. Dauch hopes a new UAW contract will slash his labor costs. But the union fears plant closings and is not in a concessionary mood. The current contract expires Feb. 25.
The stakes are huge for American Axle — and its customers. A long labor battle could jeopardize production at the company's main customers: General Motors and Chrysler LLC. GM accounts for 76 percent of American Axle's revenues, and Chrysler accounts for about 10 percent.
When talks between the union and American Axle broke down in February 2004, 6,500 UAW workers walked off the job. Parts shortages immediately crimped output at three GM truck assembly plants and at the plant that builds the Hummer H2.
A day later, American Axle and the UAW reached a four-year agreement.