CHICAGO -- Leaders from the six unions that represent nearly all of bankrupt Delphi Corp.'s U.S. hourly workers will meet Wednesday to begin mapping a strategy to fight its proposed steep wage and benefit cuts.
The United Auto Workers, IUE-CWA, United Steelworkers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the International Union of Operating Engineers formed a coalition earlier in November to fight the proposed cuts.
The coalition's working group, which consists of leaders and staff of the six unions, will meet Wednesday morning in Detroit, UAW spokesman Paul Krell said.
Krell declined to comment on a Wall Street Journal report that the UAW and General Motors, Delphi's former parent and its largest customer, had discussed GM offering buyouts to older Delphi workers, which could reduce the threat of supply disruptions affecting GM.
Delphi in October filed the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. automotive history. Chief Executive Steve Miller has said it must cut wages, benefits and jobs for hourly workers to reorganize its money-losing U.S. operations. International operations were not included in the bankruptcy.
The company has said its U.S. union hourly workers cost it about $65 per hour in total compensation, leaving it at a significant disadvantage to U.S. competitors that pay workers from one-half to one-third as much in total compensation.
Delphi's demands, coupled with a plan to offer bonuses and equity in a reorganized Delphi to executives, have rankled union workers and leaders. The executive compensation plan is up for bankruptcy court approval on Nov. 29.
"A lot of unions have had experiences with Mr. Miller and no one is buying that he wants to restructure companies," steelworkers spokesman Wayne Ranick said on Tuesday.
Miller previously served as chief executive of bankrupt Bethlehem Steel and bankrupt auto parts maker Federal-Mogul Corp., and was a director for bankrupt UAL Corp., the parent of United Airlines.
The unions represent nearly all of Troy, Michigan-based Delphi's 34,750 U.S. hourly workers. Delphi has about 50,000 workers in the United States overall and 185,000 worldwide.
UAW leaders have said they would not rule out a strike at Delphi over the wage and benefit cuts. In general, the unions would not be free to strike until the bankruptcy court throws out the current agreements, or the unions established that Delphi had committed an unfair labor practice.
Delphi submitted proposed wage and benefit cuts to its unions in October and has been in discussions with them since then. It has said it hopes to reach agreements with its unions, but plans to begin the process of rejecting its contracts if the unions have not agreed to cuts by mid December.
"We continue to have discussions with GM and all of the unions on a number of issues that were discussed prior to the filing," Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams said, declining to provide details. "There continue to be discussions on all facets of our restructuring."