WASHINGTON -- Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to appear this week at a company that drew condemnation for negotiating concessions from a union and then shifting production to Mexico anyway -- the kind of outsourcing that President Donald Trump railed against during his campaign.
Pence will speak Thursday at an American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc. plant in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, according to the White House, about Trump's tax reform plans. The company is General Motors' former axle-making division and a longtime supplier to the automaker.
A bitter 87-day strike ended in 2008 with workers represented by the UAW accepting wage and benefit reductions. The day after the strikers returned to work, the company announced plans to reduce its 3,650-person hourly workforce by some 2,000 within a year through buyouts, plant closings and layoffs if necessary.
The company's CEO then, the late Richard E. Dauch, said at the time the steps were necessary because of plummeting U.S. auto sales and production at key customers.
In 2009, American Axle moved production for a major axle manufacturing contract from its large factory complex in Detroit to one in Mexico. A UAW official said at the time that the move would eliminate about two-thirds of the more than 700 unionized factory jobs at the plant, though the company says some of those jobs were moved to a facility on the west side of the state.
U.S. auto sales were cratering at the time, and GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy the same year. But an arbitrator in 2010 found the Mexico move violated the job security clause in that 2008 pact.