3/22/08

UAW strikers share their pain

One hundred workers at the International Automotive Components plant in Lebanon, Va., have temporarily lost their jobs because of a strike by auto workers in five American Axle plants in Michigan and New York. "We were forced to release about 100 employees on a temporary layoff at our Lebanon facility since the United Auto Workers/American Axle strike began in late February," said David Ladd, executive director of marketing and communications for IAC said Thursday.

Nearly 4,000 union members who work for American Axle started walking the picket line in late February. American Axle makes axels, drive shafts and other equipment for the automobile industry.

The strike has led to market slow downs in other automotive parts companies such as IAC.

"Its part of the domino effect spreading across the auto industry as a result of the strike at American Axel," Ladd said. "Many suppliers have been forced to take similar actions following the actions of our General Motors customer."

Ladd said company officials are monitoring the strike daily and remain hopeful that it will be resolved in the near future.

According to the Virginia Coalfields Economic Development Authority Web site, IAC employs more than 400 people in the Lebanon plant.

Ladd said the company began the temporary layoffs the week the strike began on Feb. 27. The company issued layoffs to 20 to 30 workers at a time, he said.

IAC is based in Dearborn, Mich., and has operated the Lebanon plant since it purchased the facility from Lear in December 2006. The company makes vehicle interior components and systems such as door modules and floor consoles as well as instrument panels and other automotive parts.

In a news release issued earlier this month, union officials say its members are on strike at American Axel in order to "preserve good paying U.S. manufacturing jobs" at the company.

"Our union is a responsible organization, and we’ve worked through complex problems at Chrysler, Ford, GM, Delphi, Dana and other companies," UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said in the release. "But negotiations can’t be a one-way street."

(tricities.com)

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