DAYTON, Ohio - Delphi Corp. and the UAW local at the supplier's two brake plants here have signed a contract early in hopes of moving the plant off Delphi's money-loser list in as soon as six months.
Delphi and UAW Local 696 agreed to work performance rules that are expected to increase productivity. The union local received job and investment guarantees. The contract took effect June 2.
The Dayton plants are among 12 money losers that constitute Delphi's Automotive Holdings Group. The supplier will not disclose how much the plants are losing or how much the local contract changes will save the Dayton plants.
"We tried to address things that were part of culture, things we should have addressed along the way," says Jerry Gutberlet, plant manager of Delphi's Dayton plants for the past 18 months.
The most important change: dropping "make out and quit," the outdated practice of working until a set number of parts is made each day, then quitting, regardless of how long the employee's shift is scheduled. As much as 30 percent of the employees at the Dayton plants officially practiced "make out and quit," though other employees casually adopted it, Gutberlet says.
"The union understood that there was no way we could continue with that practice," he says. "We all know we can make more pieces."
In return, Delphi guaranteed the union 157 job replacements when current programs end and new ones begin. Delphi also will invest as much as $100 million in equipment in the next several years.
Ron Hill, UAW Local 696 chairman, provided few details about the contract but says it also:
"We hoped to achieve exactly what we got, and that was no loss of products and actually be able to bring some work to the plant," Hill says.
National contract negotiations between Delphi and the UAW are scheduled to begin July 18. They can address wages, and health and pension benefits, while local talks cannot.
Local 696 was the first local to sign before the national contract is negotiated.