Tuesday, July 25, 2006

UAW president says Delphi strike still a possibility

Monday, July 17, 2006
UAW president says Delphi strike still a possibility
Sarah Karush / Associated Press

DEARBORN -- United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger said the union had made little progress in recent talks with Delphi Corp. and that a strike still was a possibility.

"We have not ruled out any of our options," the UAW president said Monday.

Gettelfinger said he had expected more concessions on wage and benefit issues from Delphi -- the automotive parts supplier that is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection -- after the company, the union and General Motors Corp. worked out an extensive program of early retirements and buyouts.

"I think the attrition package got them where they need to be, and they act like nothing has changed," Gettelfinger told reporters during a break in a hearing on Chinese trade practices at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Delphi has asked a New York judge to allow it to throw out its contracts with the UAW and other unions. The judge has agreed to postpone a hearing on that request until Aug. 11 to let the parties focus on negotiations. Delphi requested the postponement after reaching the agreement with the UAW and GM on buyouts for all its UAW-represented workers.

Gettelfinger said Monday that there would be more meetings before Aug. 11, but that he was not optimistic that progress would be made.

"It appears to me that Delphi has got us on a slow walk to August the 11th," he said.

Last week, Troy-based Delphi reported a $2.4 billion loss for 2005.

Delphi's bottom line should benefit later this year from the departure of 12,600 workers represented by the UAW who took early retirement offers. The company has replaced some of the workers with people hired at far lower hourly wage rates.

Even more Delphi workers could leave as buyout offers are extended to most of its remaining hourly workers.

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