American Axle talks continue as pressure mounts

Sun Mar 9, 2008 3:52pm EDT
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By Kevin Krolicki

DETROIT (Reuters) - Talks between 3,600 workers and American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings (AXL.N: Quote) continued for a fourth straight day on Sunday as the two sides worked toward a deal to end a nearly two-week-old strike that has hobbled GM truck production in the United States and Canada.

Bargaining teams from the United Auto Workers and Detroit-based American Axle met all day Saturday and reconvened for talks on Sunday, company spokeswoman Renee Rogers said.

The renewed talks marked the first time the two sides have opted to talk through the weekend and came as the disruption from the UAW strike showed signs of deepening for American Axle's main customer, General Motors Corp (GM.N: Quote).

"It sounds like they're progressing -- at least they are still at the table," said Rogers.

GM, which spun off American Axle in 1994 and relies on it for parts for its trucks, has taken steps to shut or partly shut almost 30 facilities employing over 37,000 workers in the United States and Canada because of component shortages.

GM has said 22 plants, including facilities in Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York and Indiana, will be shut down or shift to shortened work hours starting on Monday.

GM has stopped or slowed work at eight assembly plants building its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks and also sport utility vehicles like the Hummer H2.

Some analysts have said GM could be called in to help mediate the talks in a bid to move them toward a resolution that would allow it to avoid a more costly loss of production.   Continued...