Henry Reichard, who was heading negotiations with Delphi Corp. for the IUE-CWA, died unexpectedly Monday, June 5. He was 55.
The IUE, which represents electrical workers, is the second-largest labor union at Delphi behind the UAW. The IUE represents about 8,500 Delphi workers, compared with 24,000 for the UAW.
Reichard had participated in negotiating sessions over the weekend with Delphi, said Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams.
Reichard died in his home in Dayton, Ohio. He was planning to drive on Tuesday from there to Detroit for more talks, Williams said. Williams received news of Reichard's death late last night, he said.
Williams said he had not received any information about who would replace Reichard in the negotiations. A man answering the phone at Reichard's Dayton office said he could not comment.
"We are saddened by his passing, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the IUE," Williams said. "He brought a dedication and enthusiasm that will be missed."
Reichard was chairman of the IUE-CWA Automotive Conference Board. A career unionist, he was viewed as among the most militant union leaders in the fight to avoid major wage and benefit concessions at Delphi.
The rank and file of the IUE was the first of the six unions to authorize a strike at Delphi if U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain agrees to let Delphi cancel its labor contracts under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The IUE authorized a strike in February, three months ahead of the UAW.
Reichard also organized well-attended rallies opposing Delphi concessions of nearly 60 percent.
At General Motors' annual shareholders meeting, CEO Rick Wagoner said: "I'd like to express on behalf of the GM family our real sadness at this development. Henry was a fine manager and did a great job on behalf of his constituents. He was a tough negotiator but a fair and good leader."
Staff reporter Jamie LaReau contributed to this report
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