By Jim Hagerty
Last week, General Motors announced the sale of Nexteer Automotive to Pacific Century Motors, a venture between the Beijing, China, government and a Chinese auto parts maker.
Nexteer, one of the largest employers in Saginaw, Mich., manufactures power steering systems for a variety of cars such the Ford Mustang, several Fiat lines and the Chevrolet Malibu.
The sale came as Chinese autoworkers protested for more pay, while Nexteer employees were taking sizable pay cuts just to remain employed.
Some question the sale, claiming it comes with undue pressure on American autoworkers, who have been battling against globalization for several years.
“We fought to stay employed by taking hefty pay cuts just to continue making parts here in the U.S.,” one Nexteer employee said via e-mail. “Now, we find out we are being sold to the Chinese.”
A week before the Nexteer sale was announced, its employees approved a new union contract, which includes $5,000 for each worker in exchange for rolling back an almost 4 percent raise in hourly wages and a voluntary buydown. Some workers agreed to wage cuts between $12 and $14.50 per hour.
Last month, workers shot down a similar offer, which G.M. countered by threatening to halt production in Saginaw if it could not sell the company.
From the July 14-20, 2010 issue