American Axle Ends Strike

New labor agreement ends strike that caused GM to shut down several factories.

Workers at American Axle and Manufacturing Holding Inc., a key supplier to General Motors Corp., ratified a new labor agreement late Thursday, ending a strike that led the Detroit Big Three automaker to shut down several factories.

The United Auto Workers said 78% of members at five American Axle locations had approved the new four-year labor agreement, which covers 3,650 workers, while 22% rejected it.

As part of the deal workers will have to accept deep cuts in pay and benefits, from $28 an hour on average to $18.50. At some plants, pay for some support jobs will be reduced to $10 an hour.

"Our members have had to make some tough decisions for themselves and their families and have done so with careful deliberation," says Ron Gettelfinger, president of the UAW.

GM, which depends on American Axle for axles, driveshafts and other critical parts, shut down all or part of its production at a dozen assembly plants during the nearly three-month strike. GM began calling workers back to the closed plants earlier this week after American Axle, a former GM subsidiary, had reached a tentative deal with the union.

GM's production had been cut by more than 300,000 vehicles since the strike began February 26. The first five weeks of the strike cost the automaker 800 million dollars, GM said in securities filings.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse

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