UAW workers at 5 Delphi-turned-GM plants brace for concession talks

 

UAW workers at 5 Delphi-turned-GM plants brace for concession talks


Automotive News | January 19, 2010 – 10:59 am EST

 

DETROIT — UAW officials are preparing 5,000 workers at five former Delphi Corp. plants that were returned to General Motors Co. for a new round of concessions.

GM has asked skilled trades workers for a $3-an-hour wage cut over the next year and did not make a 3.75 percent inflation increase due this month, said Steve Schwab, an elected member of the executive board at UAW Local 699, which represents workers at the Nexteer Automotive steering plant in Saginaw, Mich.

GM also seeks to freeze production wages, cancel some holidays and negotiate separate agreements with each of the five so-called “Delphi keep” plants instead of having workers at all five factories covered by a master agreement, Schwab said.

Dustin Meyer, a 21-year-old production worker at Saginaw, said that on Jan. 10, workers were told by UAW local and international representatives that the concessions were meant to make the plants more attractive to potential buyers.

This month GM officially announced that Nexteer, formerly Delphi Steering, is for sale. In December Automotive News reported that the carmaker is negotiating to sell Nexteer to Chinese steering parts maker Yubei (Xinxiang) Power Steering System Co. Ltd.

GM also wants to reduce severance for workers permanently leaving its former Delphi plants, according to a signed letter on the Web site of UAW Local 686, which represents hourly workers at the GM plant in Lockport, N.Y. The plant makes radiators and vehicle heating and air-conditioning units.

Meyer said Saginaw workers were told that the severance reduction was to $10,000 from $40,000.

The concessions would have to be ratified by the keep-site workers, said Schwab of Local 699.

“All I can say at this point is that ‘discussions are taking place between the UAW and GM regarding the former Delphi sites (now GM Components Holding) but it would be inappropriate to comment on those discussions at this time,’” GM spokesman Chris Lee said in an e-mail to Automotive News today.

The UAW did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on the matter.

GM took back the five U.S. plants from Delphi in October to clear the way for Delphi to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a four-year stay under court protection.

Despite a concessionary UAW agreement in 2007 that cut Delphi production wages from $28 an hour to about $16.50, the plants still pay more than many suppliers and far more than the offshore plants that make up most of Delphi’s manufacturing footprint.

Meyer said workers are tired of concessions, adding: “We feel that we’ve given enough and want to keep what we have.”

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