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United Auto Workers Local 846 Members In The Buffalo Suburb Of Cheektowaga Reject American Axle's 'Last Best And Final Proposal'

Published Thursday, August 18, 2011 7:00 pm
by The United Auto Workers (www.uaw.org)

(BUFFALO) - Efforts to reach a fair Labor Agreement between the United Auto Workers (UAW) Workers and American Axle and Manufacturing have been thwarted by the company's unwillingness to negotiate a new contract with a Livable Wage for 66 Union-Represented Workers employed at the company's Suburban Buffalo Gear-Making Plant in Cheektowaga, UAW Officials announced today (Wednesday, August 18th).

Negotiations broke down on July 31st when UAW Local 846 Members voted 98% in favor of rejecting what American Axle said was its "last best and final proposal," UAW Representatives said.  During contract talks, American Axle demanded more money and benefits from its Workers, UAW Officials added.  Union Workers have already taken concessions, but were willing to negotiate a contract that helps keep jobs in the local community.  Meanwhile, in late July, American Axle released figures showing that its profits soared to $47.9 million from $25.3 million a year ago.

"This is an indication that Hard-Working People are sick of constantly helping companies through concessions and back to profitability and companies refusing to share in that," said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, who directs the Union's American Axle Department.  "Here’s a business that started out as an American Company providing good-paying jobs to six-thousand employees.  As a result of the hard work of these employees, it has grown to an international company with thirty-two factories worldwide.  All of this success was achieved off the backs of the original six-thousand Hard-Working Americans."

"The men and women in Cheektowaga stepped up to the plate and made huge sacrifices when the company was in trouble," Buffalo-Headquartered UAW Region 9 Director Scott Adams said. "Clearly, American Axle CEO Dick Dauch is more concerned with advancing his pay from millionaire to billionaire status at the continued expense of his employees.  It’s shameful that these Workers must fight to maintain the very standard of living that contributed to and allowed for the huge profits that American Axle is enjoying today.  Our concern for our Members is for them to continue to have the ability to put their next meal on the table, and continue to have the ability to pay the next doctor or dentist bill."

American Axle already has closed other U.S. plants, including another facility in Buffalo and a Forge Plant in nearby Tonawanda.  It has announced plans to close its Detroit plant in February.  As plants in U.S. communities have been shuttered, the company has increasingly shifted its production to other countries.

"Although we’re disappointed by the company's actions, our members are still ready to negotiate a Livable Wage, Job Security and a contract that benefits our Members, American Axle and the Buffalo-Niagara Community that depend on these jobs," Estrada said.

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