UAW President credits GM for tentative Delphi deal

DETROIT United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger credited General Motors Corp. on Monday for a
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

DETROIT

United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger credited General Motors Corp. on Monday for a tentative wage-concession deal with Delphi Corp. meant to help the struggling auto supplier emerge from bankruptcy and avoid a strike.

Delphi has about 6,000 workers in Ohio. Under the plan, GM or a third party it chooses would operate a plant in Dayton.

Meanwhile, Gettelfinger continued to criticize Delphi's leaders, who he said wanted to drag out the bankruptcy and put the Troy-based Delphi in foreign hands.

''If it weren't for (GM Chief Financial Officer) Fritz Henderson and his team ... this agreement never would have come about,'' Gettelfinger said in an interview on ''The Paul W. Smith Show'' on WJR-AM in Detroit.

Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams said the company would not respond to Gettelfinger's comments.

Gettelfinger wouldn't give details of the agreement, signed Friday by Delphi and UAW leadership. Union members were informed Monday on the pact, which still must be approved by the 17,000 UAW members and a federal bankruptcy judge in New York.

UAW Local 913 members were presented with details Monday, union president Ralphy Brumby said Tuesday. Local union representatives decided to give members a day to "digest what they heard on Monday."

Brumby said he would not disclose any details about the agreement until after the membership votes. Members from the Sandusky plant were scheduled to vote on the agreement from 5 a.m. today until 5 a.m. Thursday.

Other local unions have met and have voted on the agreement, Brumby said, adding that the international union wanted to collect all local results by Thursday.

But according to documents obtained by the AP that the union provided to its members, the deal would provide three annual payments of $35,000 each to UAW workers who previously had worked for higher wages at GM before the 1999 Delphi spin-off. There are about 4,000 of these so-called ''legacy workers,'' but it was unclear how many would receive the payments.

Under the agreement, legacy workers would see their hourly wages cut from around $27 to between $14.50 and $18.50 beginning Oct. 1. During the buy-down period, those workers also could try to return to GM.

Other incentives include:

n A $140,000 buyout for workers with more than 10 years of service and a $70,000 buyout for those with the company for less than 10 years.

n A $35,000 payment to encourage workers with at least 30 years of service to retire.

n Retirement benefits for workers age 50 and older with at least 10 years of service.

n A program for workers with at least 26 years of service that would allow them to stop working, but be paid as active workers at the lower rates until they reach 30 years of service and retire.

The plan would have Delphi operating four UAW plants: Grand Rapids, Mich.; Kokomo, Ind.; Lockport, N.Y.; and Rochester, N.Y. The union was able to get GM -- or a third party designated by GM -- to agree to operate Delphi's Flint East plant, Saginaw Chassis and the Needmore Road plant in Dayton, Ohio.

Delphi plans to sell its Saginaw Steering plant and others in Adrian, Mich.; Sandusky and Cottondale, Ala. It would close or consolidate into other facilities in Coopersville, Mich.; Columbus; two in Milwaukee; Anderson, Ind.; and Wichita Falls, Texas.

U.S. Delphi Energy & Chassis, 2509 Hayes Ave., Perkins Township, makes wheel spindle bearings, roller clutches for transmissions and water pump assemblies for cars and trucks. The plant has more than 1,000 employees, including 190 salaried employees and 900 hourly workers represented by UAW Local 913.

Sandusky Register reporter Janet Nguyen contributed to this report.