The ongoing readjustment period in the U.S. auto industry has thus far been a tough one for both the companies and their current and former employees.

Workers at American Axle & Manufacturing, now in their 12th week on strike, are being urged by both GM and their own union representatives to accept a deal that will result in pay cuts, plant closures and buyouts.

But American Axle employees are not eager to sign their names to the four-year contract. Pay cuts amount to about 40% in total, ranging from $10 to $26 per hour.

Three plants will also be closed, and the 700 jobs that they support will be terminated within a year, but buyouts as high as $140,000 will compensate the newly unemployed, reports Automotive News. The plants to be closed are forging operations in Michigan and New York.

A victory for American Axle comes in GM's pledge to keep two other plants that had been slated for closure up and running, but concessions on wages for future hires mean the future earning potential at those plants is not what it used to be, with a $5,000 signing bonus and starting pay at $11.50 per hour for production workers and $22 per hour for skilled workers.

The strike, now in its third month, has forced GM to idle or halt production at over 30 of its North American assembly lines, affecting the company's output of light trucks and SUVs including the GMC Yukon, Sierra and Denali, commercial-duty pickups and several types of Chevrolet pickups and SUVs, including the Tahoe. GM has offered a total of $218 million in unemployment buyouts and subsidies in an effort to end the strike. Read our previous coverage for more details.