DETROIT -- American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc.'s Detroit manufacturing complex is unlikely to receive any new production contracts until at least 2012, a company executive said Tuesday.
Chris Son, spokesman for the drive line supplier, said the plant has no scheduled production launches until 2012, based on its current order book. That could change in 2012, when the automotive supplier's collective bargaining agreement with UAW-represented workers at the plant expires.
Son, speaking on the sidelines of a Detroit Economic Club meeting today at the Renaissance Center, said market competitiveness will determine if the company taps the Detroit site for future production. If negotiations with the UAW can yield a “market-competitive” collective bargaining agreement when the current one expires, new production work may be sourced at the plant.
The UAW's ranks at American Axle's 2.4 million-square-foot Detroit manufacturing complex have been slashed over the last few years as the supplier moved much of its axle production work from Detroit to sites in Mexico.
In March, an arbitrator ruled that American Axle had violated its 2008 collective bargaining agreement by moving production of an axle used by General Motors Co. -- American Axle's largest customer and representing more than 75 percent of its annual revenue -- to a company plant in Mexico.
At least some of the production work has been returned to the Detroit complex, but it's unclear how much. Son said about 100 UAW-represented employees have been paid back wages and benefits as a result of the arbitrator's decision, and have returned to work at the 2.4 million-square-foot complex.
American Axle Communications Manager David Tworek told Crain's in March that two plants in the complex were operating but declined to say how much those plants represented in terms of capacity at the Detroit operation.
UAW members at American Axle ratified a collective bargaining agreement in May 2008 after a bitter three-month strike over wage and benefit cuts demanded by the company.
At the time, UAW Local 235 in Hamtramck had nearly 2,000 active members working at the Detroit complex.
Part of the agreement included commitments by American Axle about where specific products would be built, and the company agreed not to outsource work it had guaranteed for Detroit , according to a March statement by the UAW.