Sunday, May 14, 2006

Delphi disciplines officials from union

Delphi disciplines officials from union

By John Nolan

Staff Writer

DAYTON — Delphi Corp. on Monday disciplined three more officials of United Auto Workers Local 696 at the company's Dayton brake plant in response to a work stoppage in part of the factory last week, the union said.

Joe Buckley, president of UAW Local 696, said the company placed a union shop steward on indefinite suspension and was planning to take similar action against two other stewards.

Last week, the company put Local 696 shop chairman Tony Keen on indefinite suspension, then had Buckley arrested on a trespassing charge when he declined management's order to leave the plant, Buckley said. The company has the option of converting an indefinite suspension into a firing, he said.

"I think it sends a pretty clear message that the corporation has chosen a path of confrontation, rather than sitting down and resolving the issues we've got," Buckley said Monday.

Delphi spokesman Brad Jackson declined to discuss any of the details, saying the company does not discuss employee matters publicly. On Sunday, the union members voted to authorize the national UAW to call a strike if the union is unable to negotiate a new, lower-cost wage agreement that Delphi wants.

Union officials said last week's dispute began because Delphi hasn't replaced janitors who retired May 1 and floors have become dirty and slippery near brake machining equipment. Keen brought the problem to management's attention, then directed union members to stop working in the area last Thursday because of the safety hazard that he believed the company had not corrected, Buckley said. Keen was suspended the next day.

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