UAW proposals are still not market competitive and plants may close, American Axle and Manufacturing (AAM) said in its latest statement as the strike called by UAW at AAM's original US locations was in its 57th day.

About 3,650 workers are represented by the UAW at the five facilities in Michigan and New York.

"AAM and the UAW worked effectively last week with the objective of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement for the original U.S. locations. Tentative agreements were achieved on many issues and AAM was encouraged by the progress," the supplier said.

"Although AAM has made several economic proposals to the UAW with "all-in" hourly wage and benefit packages that were considerably higher than the market rate of AAM's UAW-represented competitors in the US, the UAW has repeatedly rejected these economic proposals.

"AAM needs a US market competitive labour agreement for the original US locations. This is necessary because the UAW previously negotiated market competitive labour agreements with many of AAM's US competitors in the driveline market segment. This includes Dana, FormTech, Chinese-owned Neapco and Indian-owned Bharat Forge.  The "all-in" wage and benefit package granted by the UAW to these companies averages approximately US$30 per hour.

"In order for AAM to be able to compete for new business and sustain employment at the original US locations, the UAW must offer AAM economic terms and conditions that are comparable to those it has already granted to AAM's competitors. The UAW's latest economic proposal to AAM dated 14 April included an "all-in" wage and benefit package that is almost double the market rate established by the UAW with AAM's competitors.

"If the UAW is not willing to consider a US market competitive labour agreement for AAM, a Michigan-based company, similar to the agreements it has given to companies based in China and India, AAM will be forced to plan for the potential closure of some, or all, of these uncompetitive facilities."

"AAM has been, and continues to be, totally committed to ensuring that all of AAM's manufacturing operations are viable, profitable and sustainable," said chairman and CEO Richard Dauch in a statement.

"AAM's negotiating team has never left the bargaining table [a reference to the UAW leaving talks from last Saturday until Monday afternoon] and will continue to work in good faith to achieve a market-competitive labour agreement that will allow the original US locations to compete on a level playing field in the USA."

Separately, the Associated Press (AP) said workers at five General Motors factories are either on strike or threatening a strike as disputes over local contracts continue to surface.

The latest strike warning came from a United Auto Workers local [branch] at a metal parts stamping factory in Mansfield, Ohio, that employs about 1,400 hourly workers.

GM spokesman Dan Flores told AP on Tuesday it was unclear when the five-day strike warning was effective.

The news agency said Mansfield is the fifth GM local union to threaten a walkout or go on strike over local contract issues.

A local at a plant in Delta Township near Lansing went on strike lat Thursday, while locals at a Warren transmission factory, a Grand Rapids metal fabricating plant and a factory in Kansas City, Kansas, that makes the strong-selling Chevrolet Malibu, all have threatened walkouts.

Flores told the Associated Press negotiations were under way at all the plants in hopes of resolving the issues without further strikes.