Federal-Mogul Corp. on Monday reportedly said it was moving to close an automotive bearings plant in western Michigan after workers rejected a concessions contract that would have cut their wages, vacations and health benefits.


According to The Associated Press (AP), the Southfield-based automotive supplier has been seeking $US5.35 million to $5.5 million in wage and benefit concessions in exchange for keeping the company’s Greenville plant open and preserving its 310 jobs.


On Sunday, members of United Auto Workers Local [branch] 2017 rejected the deal 160 votes to 22, the report said.


“It is with regret that we will now need to begin negotiations of a plant closing agreement,” Federal-Mogul reportedy said in a news release.


The company said it hoped the employees would reconsider before the current union contract expires on July 23, AP noted.


Without the concessions, Federal-Mogul had reportedly said that it planned to close the plant and move the work to a place where labour and operating costs are less expensive. Spokesman Sean Patrick told AP the company has not indicated where it would move production – it now operates in 29 countries.


“It is very unfortunate we’ve reached this juncture,” Scott Pepin, personnel director for Federal-Mogul’s powertrain group, told the Associated Press, adding: “Our objective has always been to keep this facility open. Many people on both sides of the table put a lot of hard work into creating a package that would keep Greenville working. It is disappointing that all that hard work was thwarted.”


AP said the tentative agreement reached on June 3 would have cut wages by $1.19 an hour over four years, reduced paid holidays by four days a year and increased employee health insurance and prescription drug costs.