WASHINGTON -- Delphi Corp.'s bankruptcy "is a metaphor for nearly every economic and social issue gripping American manufacturing," says CEO Steve Miller.
Miller told reporters here late last month that Delphi's problems symbolize more than the immediate financial troubles of U.S. automotive suppliers. The company's bankruptcy forecasts a "coming intergenerational conflict," he said.
"Young people increasingly resent having their wages reduced and taxed away to support social programs" for their grandparents, Miller said.
Government must help, he argued, by overhauling pension law, reforming health care and rewriting the tax code. Miller said he has been making that case directly to public officials.
Meanwhile, he said, Delphi workers must deal with the conflict soon. As the company attempts to reorganize in bankruptcy, unionized workers will have to decide on trade-offs between their own wages and retirees' health and pension benefits, Miller said.
The conflict also will surface when the Big 3 negotiate new contracts with the UAW in 2007, Miller predicted.