DETROIT -- Leadership of the United Auto Workers union supports a restructuring plan that ailing auto parts supplier Visteon Corp. recently reached with its former parent Ford Motor Co., the head of the union said Tuesday.
"The council is unanimously recommending it," UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said of the plan. Visteon gets about 70 percent of its revenue from sales to Ford.
Gettelfinger spoke with reporters after a meeting with UAW officials in downtown Detroit where details of the turnaround plan were discussed behind closed doors.
A union official said rank-and-file members of the traditionally militant UAW would be asked to cast votes in favor of the plan between May 31 and June 5.
Industry sources have said the plan includes a deal that would allow Visteon to shutter up to 15 U.S. plants, spinning most of them off into a holding company controlled by Ford.
About 5,000 of the more than 17,000 workers at the plants would be offered buyouts or early retirement under the plan, according to a report in the Detroit News.
"It's a good agreement," Gettelfinger said. "When you weigh the alternatives we have very few options left available."
Visteon, which has struggled to turn a profit since its spinoff from Ford in 2000, posted a net loss of $1.5 billion last year. During the first quarter, the parts supplier posted a net loss of $188 million.
Lower sales to Ford -- which cut its second-quarter North American vehicle production 4.8 percent -- and higher costs for steel and other raw materials including aluminum, copper and resin are hurting the parts maker.
"We estimate that removing roughly 30 percent of Visteon's current UAW work force would represent annual cost savings of $500 million to $600 million," Calyon Securities analyst Joseph Amaturo said in a research note.
"We believe the actual cost savings to Visteon could be materially higher," he added.
Visteon has been in talks with Ford since last year over broad changes to its business.