Who would have thought that those good guys at American Axle would wind up winning their labor dispute with the UAW here in the states, getting as much as wages of $10 less an hour and gearing up to shed 3 US factories and a little less than 2,000 US workers in the process. You would think that they have gotten a sweet deal. Figuring that the US worker is the absolutely highest production worker in the world. Theres gotta be some reasoning and considering all the new business it has recently gotten, its a cause for alarm, according to Automotive News:
American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. said today that it has a $1.4 billion backlog in new business beginning next year through 2013 — almost all of which will be sourced outside the United States, Automotive News reported.
You would think they would be opening factories on every block, but that simply isn’t the case. For some reason, be it governmental labor regulations or environmental standards, American Axle is pledging to do more business outside of the US, according to Crains Detroit (5/28/08):
Despite those gains, American Axle said about 85 percent of its new business will be made in non-U.S. operations, increasing its business in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Poland and Thailand. That means more than 50 percent of the supplier’s production will be done outside the United States, Dauch said. About 65 to 70 percent of that production will be shipped back to the United States.
About half of American Axle’s new business will be for rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive products for cars and crossovers. But the company said it is also looking to begin offering electronics products, including transmission differentials and transfer cases.
“Record-high fuel prices, rapidly shifting consumer preferences and fast growth in the emerging markets are quickly changing the product development requirements of the global automotive industry,” Dauch said in a statement.
“American Axle’s success in growing its new business backlog demonstrates that our long-term strategic goals of expanding and diversifying American Axle’s product portfolio, customer base, served markets and global manufacturing footprint are on track and in balance with the needs of our customers.”
How on Earth is all that product going to wind up in the United States?
Is the Starship Enterprise gonna beam it here? What about the exceedingly low environmental standards of these countries that are getting the AAM business? how much more fossil fuels are going to be burned to import back the product? Brazil is destroying its wetlands, for biofuel crops and blatant deforestation, China is burning coal like its the 1900′s and cares enough about the environment to still be mining coal with its prisoners. That doesn’t even tip the iceberg of China’s infractions and most of us are aware of India, but what about Poland and Thailand? heres a clip from Nations Encyclopedia (note some of it is a bit dated)
The labor code prohibits employment for children under the age of 15. There are strict rules governing the work standards for those between 15 and 18 years old, however these are not regularly enforced. The minimum wage in state-owned enterprises was $180 per month in 2002, although large number of workers earn less than the minimum wage. The legal standard workweek is 42 hours with one 24-hour rest period. The labor code defines occupational safety and health standards but they are not consistently enforced.
The main domestic energy sources are coal, lignite, and peat; rivers remain a largely untapped source of power. In 2001, the net installed capacity was 30,559,000 kW. Production in 2000 was 135.2 billion kWh, of which 98.1% was from fossil fuels, 1.5% from hydropower, and less than 1% from other renewable sources.
…Minimum daily wage rates in 2002 ranged from $3.01 to $3.71 depending on the cost of living in different provinces. Legislation regulating hours and conditions of labor, workers’ compensation, and welfare also exists, however, these laws are weakly enforced.
While forced labor is prohibited by the Thai constitution, there are reports that workers are physically prevented from leaving some sweatshops, especially ones which employ illegal immigrants from Laos, Cambodia, and Burma. These same sweatshops have also been accused of using physical coercion to meet production goals.
American Axles, is not only fucking the US workers, by exiting our country for places with little or no enforced labor standards. This multi national corp is now helping destroy the entire planet while we are so caught up in the “Green” movement here in the states, AAM and other wonderful corporations are skirting laws and regulations by just moving away. I only wonder where the outrage is? Where’s the environmental tariff? Why do I have to sort shit in green and blue bags so some corporation makes money off of my labor? Now I have to put leaves in a separate bag and American Axle is getting away with burning coal to make it’s products. What a sham. We all work harder and get less and they convince us its for our own good. I’m not going to disagree, but how is this country going to allow this? A big fuck you to AAM, Dick Dauch and all the bullshit rules and regulations that are selectively sentenced upon our people.
A huge thanks to UnionGal for pointing this out