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Union Takes Step Toward Strike at Auto Parts Maker Delphi

A union representing more than 2,000 of Delphi's hourly workers said Friday it has told the auto parts maker that it plans to terminate its contracts, a first step toward a possible strike in October.

The International Union of Electronic Workers-Communications Workers of America said the notification, delivered in a letter earlier this week, comes as contract talks have dragged on concerning job security, wages and benefits.


"Delphi has not delivered proposals that meet our members needs," union President Jim Clark said in a statement. "From the start we have stated that IUE-CWA members want both their jobs and dignity intact at the end of the process.

"We are tired of spinning our wheels in negotiations while Delphi falls short of these basic demands."

Lindsey Williams, a spokesman for Troy-based Delphi, said Friday that talks continue with the union. He said the company didn't plan to comment on communications between it and the union.

On Thursday, Delphi made more progress toward emerging from bankruptcy protection when a court approved a settlement with the United Auto Workers. Delphi's emergence from bankruptcy is expected before the end of the year.

The settlement with the UAW, Delphi's largest union, affects about 16,000 workers at 21 plants. Deals still need to be reached with five other unions representing a total of about 3,000 workers, including the IUE-CWA.

The UAW deal came after two years of sometimes contentious negotiations and averted a threatened strike that would have crippled Delphi's biggest customer and former parent, General Motors .

"We expect the talks will continue," GM spokeswoman Renee Rashid-Merem said Friday of the IUE-CWA talks. "Beyond that we won't comment on the nature of the negotiations."

The IUE-CWA has workers at three plants that Delphi plans to keep -- including Warren, Ohio, and Brookhaven and Clinton, Miss. -- as well as at three the company plans to sell or close, including Kettering and Moraine, Ohio, and Gadsden, Ala.

The union said the notice of its intent to terminate its local and national contracts allows union locals to strike starting October 13.

"There is still much time to change our course," IUE-CWA Automotive Conference Board Chairman Willie Thorpe said. "But we cannot sit back and be unprepared. In our estimation, given the current state of talks, a strike is a real possibility, and we need to act accordingly."

As part of the termination notice, IUE-CWA also revoked its permission for Delphi to use temporary employees at IUE-CWA represented facilities. The union said Delphi could cut production or permanently hire the workers.

Delphi entered court protection in October 2005.

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