Negotiators from the United Auto Workers and American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. on Friday reached a tentative four-year contract agreement covering about 6,500 hourly workers, ending a day-old strike at the automotive supplier, according to Associated Press (AP).
Wendy Thompson, president of UAW Local [branch] 235, which represents workers at American Axle’s Detroit Axle and Detroit Forge plants, told AP that workers at plants in Michigan and New York were expected to be back on the job Friday afternoon.
A spokeswoman for the Detroit-based company couldn’t immediately comment, the report added, noting that the agreement still would need to be ratified by union members.
Associated Press said the walkout had forced General Motors, American Axle’s biggest customer, to cancel the first shift on Friday at its Fort Wayne, Indiana, truck plant. GM planned to resume production at the 3,000-employee plant at the start of the second shift and continue for as long as possible, the report added.
AP noted that DaimlerChrysler‘s Chrysler Group had said production could be affected next week if the strike wasn’t resolved swiftly.
According to the news agency, the union had said that UAW’s previous four-year contract with American Axle expired at 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday without an agreement and negotiations had been stalled, workers took to picket lines on Thursday.
At issue was contract language over plant closings, which American Axle wanted to change to allow it to shutter its facilities at will, the UAW’s Thompson told AP, adding that bargainers also disagreed on how much money the company should contribute to a supplemental fund for unemployed or laid-off workers.
Associated Press said the strike included workers at plants in Detroit and Three Rivers; and Buffalo, Tonawanda and Cheektowaga in New York state.