American Axle Workers Seeing 'Help Wanted' Signs

Auto parts supplier, idled for more than a month by a UAW strike, advertised in Sunday newspapers for potential replacement workers.

DETROIT (AP) -- American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc., idled for more than a month by a United Auto Workers strike, advertised in Sunday newspapers for potential replacement workers.
An ad published in the classified section of The Oakland Press of Pontiac, Michigan, read in part: ''Employment offered to applicants responding to this advertisement will be to fill anticipated attrition replacement openings after negotiations or in place of employees involved in this strike.''
The UAW responded by calling for a mass picket Monday outside the auto supplier's Detroit headquarters.
Besides Detroit, the company ran similar ads in newspapers near other American Axle facilities in Three Rivers and the Buffalo, New York, area, spokeswoman Renee Rogers said Sunday.
''We expect that once an agreement is reached with the UAW a significant number of associates will participate in buyouts and early retirements. We are currently preparing a pool of potential new associates,'' she said.
About 3,600 UAW workers at five American Axle plants in Michigan and New York walked off their jobs Feb. 26 in a dispute over wages and benefits. The action has forced General Motors Corp. to fully or partly shut down 29 plants in the U.S. and Canada.
Although there have been discussions between top bargainers, full negotiating teams for both sides have not met since March 10. Rogers said no new information on the talks was available Sunday.
''They're trying to get away with everything they can right now,'' said Bob Stowell, a member of UAW Local 2093 in Three Rivers. ''I think GM might be putting a little heat on them. I don't know how they're going to train these people or anything. ... I think it's just kind of a scare for us.''
Messages seeking additional comment were left Sunday with UAW International spokesman Roger Kerson, Local 235 president Adrian King and Local 2093 president Erv Heidbrink.
American Axle also has sent letters to UAW-represented workers who were laid off before the strike began, asking them to return to work.
Rogers said Sunday that she did not know how many workers were sent letters.
WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, New York, reported details of the letters, although Rogers said the letters were sent to laid-off workers throughout the company.
Laid-off workers could lose benefits if they do not return to work.
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