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UAW Members Ratify Deal with Delphi

Reuters
Friday, 29 Jun 2007 | 1:39 PM ET

The United Auto Workers said that members have ratified a deal that gives Delphi concessions on wages, benefits and plant closings the auto parts maker has said it must have to exit bankruptcy.

Voting on the agreement, which includes wage and benefit cuts and eventual plant closings, is cumulative among the eligible 17,000 UAW members, but results reported independently from some of the largest locals showed a majority in favor.

Delphi has said it must have the cuts in labors costs to complete its reorganization. The deal would also remove the threat of a strike that could cripple the company and former parent General Motors, Delphi's biggest customer.

Terry Frantz prepares the engine compartment of a Cadillac CTS at the GM Lansing Grand River assembly plant Monday, Jan. 7, 2002, in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis, Pool)
Al Goldis
Terry Frantz prepares the engine compartment of a Cadillac CTS at the GM Lansing Grand River assembly plant Monday, Jan. 7, 2002, in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis, Pool)

The agreement, disclosed by dissident union members, designates plants for retention, sale, or closure and future jobs that could make support vary greatly among the units.

It also may pit 13,000 recent hires against 4,000 veterans, who would take wage and benefit cuts. Thousands of long-term workers took retirements or buyouts in 2006 that allowed Delphi to hire replacements at lower wages and benefits.

UAW members in Lockport, New York, voted against the deal by a wide margin, according to the Buffalo News. Workers in Rochester, New York, supported it. The Rochester and Lockport plants are among four that Delphi would retain under the deal.

Members at a Kokomo, Indiana, local also voted about 64% to approve the deal. Delphi also has designated that plant as one it will retain following the reorganization.

Members at two locals that received some job guarantees in the agreement backed the deal.

A Dayton, Ohio, local voted about 80% to back the deal, which would give the unit guarantees for about 750 jobs as one of three sites that GM or a third party will operate.

Flint, Michigan, workers backed the deal by a 94% margin. The deal would guarantee about 1,000 jobs for the local unit, where about 950 of its 1,100 members are recent hires.

In Saginaw, Michigan, workers at the steering plant designated for sale under the agreement voted about 83% to support the deal.

Locals in Athens, Alabama, and Columbus, Ohio, also voted to support the agreement, which calls for winding down or consolidating those plants.

The Detroit News also reported on Friday that workers at plants in Sandusky, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Adrian, Michigan, were mostly voting to back the deal.

Delphi would retain Grand Rapids and divest Sandusky and Adrian under the agreement.

The ratification vote was put on a fast track following the announcement of an agreement last Friday. Plants shut down for two weeks at the beginning of July. The deal also requires U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval.

Overall, Delphi would retain four UAW-represented plants, turn over three to GM or a third party, sell four and exit 10.

The agreement would cut wages for long-term employees from about $27 per hour to the $14 to $18.50 an hour of recent hires. That remains above early Delphi demands for wage cuts to about $10 per hour.

To make the wage cuts more palatable, long-term employees would receive $105,000 over three years and Delphi would extend offers of buyouts, retirement or returning to work at GM.

Delphi, which filed for bankruptcy in October 2005, still plans to exit bankruptcy by the end of 2007.

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