American Axle says it will close down last remaining plant

By Charles Sercombe

Any hope that city officials had about American Axle & Manufacturing reopening its plants looks like a thing of the past.

Last week, American Axle officials announced it was closing down its last remaining active plant next February and will lay off 300 workers. Company officials said a shift in the demand for parts is the reason work is stopping here.

But according to local media reports, the closing seems to be more about forcing UAW members to take a pay and benefit cut from $45 an hour to $30 an hour.

UAW officials say their union agreed to reduce pay to $32 an hour, but American Axle officials say that’s untrue.

Regardless, it’s clear where the parts production has shifted: to American Axle’s Mexico plant, which employs about 2,700 workers and is responsible for 28 percent of the company’s global income of $2.3 billion.

The average hourly rate for a Mexican plant worker is $6.94.

The Detroit-Hamtramck plant complex once employed 2,200 workers, and the City of Hamtramck once collected $500,000 a year in property tax and income tax. In 2008, UAW members went on strike over a wage concession demand.

The workers eventually agreed to come back at half the salary they were earning. But it didn’t matter because shortly after the strike American Axle closed down most of the plants at the Detroit-Hamtramck complex and shifted work to Mexico.

The timing of the closing of the last remaining plant is curious to say the least. The UAW contract ends in February, leading to speculation that perhaps work could return with non-union employees.

American Axle officials won’t say what their plans are, but another scenario could be that the plants will be leased out or sold to another manufacturer.

Or, it could be that the plants will forever remain mothballed, adding yet another nail to the coffin of the Detroit auto industry.

4 Responses to American Axle says it will close down last remaining plant

  1. Stephanie Maholmes

    August 3, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I LOVED MY JOB AT AAM. I WAS FORCED TO TAKE BUYOUT AFTER A LONG PERIOD OF BEING LAID OFF AND NO SIGNS OF RETURNING. TO THIS DAY I AM STILL DEEPLY SADDENED BY THE COMPANYS DECISION TO CLOSE DOWN. MY LIFE HAS NOT RECOVERED SINCE. ITS SAD SO MANY OF US LOST OUR JOBS WE LOVED AND GAVE 100%. WHATS EVEN MORE SAD IS NO ONE SEEMS TO CARE. OF COURSE TIMES HAVE CHANGED AND WITH THAT SOME CHANGES NEEDED YO HAPPEN AT AAM. BUT NOTHING THIS DRASTIC. I STILL FIND MYSELF THINKING ABOUT HOW KUCH I WISH I STILL HAD MY JOB AT AAM AND KEEP HOPING IT WILL RE-EMERGE. MR. DAUCH IF YOU ARE LISTENING..SOME OF YOUR ONCE DEDICATED WORKERS LOVED OUR JOBS AT AAM. AND SINCE LEAVING OUR LIVES HAVW BEEN TURNED UPSIDE DOWN. I STILL PRAY HOLBROOK WILL AGAIN BE ALIVE AND I CAN RETURN TO THE JOB I STILL GRIEVE THE LOSS OF.

  2. Mark

    September 23, 2016 at 2:47 am

    Three Rivers is still open

  3. Mike

    January 16, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Not for Long same is going on in three rivers. Just a matter of time. 5 years is almost up and 45 an hour compared to 6 is a big difference. Since the CEO passed the company has went to shit.

  4. Supplier

    August 7, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    5 years has come and gone. We supply AAM assembly equipment and there isn’t any sign of 3Rivers shutting the doors.

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