Union workers at auto supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., on their fifth day of a crippling strike, are ready to bargain with the company, a union leader said on Saturday.

The United Auto Workers say American Axle is seeking deep cuts in wages and benefits and accuses it of not giving information that will allow an evaluation of the merit of the company's proposals.

Our members are getting terrific support from all over the UAW and we're standing strong, said Erv Heidbrink, president of UAW Local 2093 in a statement.

The local union represents about 800 UAW members at American Axle's manufacturing facility in Three Rivers, Mich.

We're ready for serious bargaining at any time, and we want to get this dispute resolved as soon as we can, he said.

The UAW began the strike on February 26 after contract talks about wage, health-care and pension issues failed to be resolved.

American Axle says its plants affected by the labor strike have not been profitable in recent years. It maintains the company has not violated any labor laws. It also contends the company has given the UAW all information it is entitled to receive.


On Friday, American Axle's top customer, General Motors Corp. said it would idle three more pick-up truck plants in North America as a result of the strike.

GM will stop production at factories located in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Flint, Mich.; and Oshawa, Ontario. The company reduced production of trucks at a Pontiac Michigan plant on Thursday. The total number of employees at the four factories is about 12,000.

Despite of the production stoppage, General Motors will likely endure the strike for a while since its level of inventories is high, Dow Jones noted.

American Axle received around 78 percent of its 2007 revenue from GM.