DETROIT -- The UAW has filed suit against supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., claiming contract violations at its Detroit and Cheektowaga, N.Y., plants.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit late last month, claims violation of collective bargaining agreements for more than 100 UAW workers over the age of 50 -- specifically related to pension, health care, disability and other benefits.
The UAW claims American Axle is violating the early-retirement pension benefit for those workers as agreed upon during contract negotiations in 2008 after an 87-day strike.
American Axle closed the Detroit manufacturing complex last month and Cheektowaga plant last year after the automotive supplier couldn’t reach what it called competitive labor agreements with the UAW. The union rejected concessions sought by American Axle that would have cut wages and benefits by more than $30 an hour.
American Axle moved work from its Detroit and Cheektowaga plants to plants in Silao, Mexico, and Three Rivers in Southwest Michigan.
This year, American Axle announced it would invest $102 million into its Three Rivers plant to handle the relocated business.
The company retains ownership of the Detroit plant, and an extension of tax breaks for its Detroit headquarters was unanimously rejected by the Detroit City Council late last year.
The supplier sought to extend the exemptions through 2018 by promising to make $6 million in improvements to its world headquarters on Holbrook Street and hire 20 information technology employees.