Sunday, February 11, 2007

UAW rejects deadlines for Delphi talks

Friday, February 02, 2007
UAW rejects deadlines for Delphi talks
Jim Irwin / Associated Press

DETROIT -- The United Auto Workers union struck a defiant tone Thursday in its dealings with Delphi Corp. and private investors who want to provide the bankrupt auto parts supplier with a critical infusion of cash.

Complaining that Delphi and the investors have dragged their feet on negotiating wages, benefits and other issues with the UAW, union President Ron Gettelfinger said the UAW would not negotiate against deadlines in which it had no say.

A Delphi spokesman said Thursday night that the unions representing hourly workers have been included in every aspect of the negotiations.

Private equity investors, led by Cerberus Capital Management, have agreed to invest $1.4 billion to $3.4 billion in a restructured Delphi.

The investors and Delphi each had the right to terminate the agreement Wednesday if no deal was reached with Delphi's unions, and General Motors Corp., which once owned Delphi.

Wednesday's deadline passed without an agreement, but a person familiar with the negotiations said talks likely would continue into February or beyond because investors have no intention of walking away from the deal.

In a statement posted on the UAW's Web site, union President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Cal Rapson said the Wednesday deadline was set without consulting the union.

"Unfortunately, neither the company nor the potential investors has demonstrated a willingness to resolve the substantial issues which divide us," the statement said.

Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams rebuffed the UAW leaders' statement Thursday evening, telling The Associated Press: "We have been engaged in negotiations with all of our unions, including the UAW, for several months now. The unions are still engaged, GM is still engaged and the investors are still engaged.

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