DETROIT -- UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said today that Delphi Corp.'s greed is the only thing holding up a settlement of a labor dispute at the bankrupt supplier.
Speaking to a luncheon gathering of the Detroit Economic Club, Gettelfinger said the unions at Delphi paved the way to an agreement through an early retirement and buyout program. Under the plan, about 20,000 veteran Delphi workers earning $28 an hour are being replaced by temporaries earning $14 an hour. The General Motors-financed attrition plan is expected to cost the automaker at least $5.5 billion.
That plan should have satisfied Delphi's desire for more competitive labor costs, Gettelfinger said. Yet Delphi management continues to pursue a Bankruptcy Court motion to void its labor agreements -- a strategy that, if approved, would prompt the UAW and IUE-CWA to strike.
"It's only a matter of greed now," Gettelfinger said.
After Gettelfinger made his remarks, Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams said, "This issue is not a matter of greed but of Delphi's competitiveness."
Williams said the attrition program was just one piece of the necessary restructuring at Delphi that will have to include shutting excess facilities, changes to the JOBS bank and other issues.
The last Delphi proposal to the UAW called on hourly workers to accept $10.50 an hour in wages and relinquish most work-rule rights. Delphi has about 33,000 U.S. hourly workers, although it plans to shrink that number to below 10,000 as it closes or sells all but eight of its 29 U.S. factories.
A hearing on Delphi's motion to void its labor contracts is scheduled for Sept. 18 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. Delphi put its U.S. operations in Chapter 11 protection last Oct. 8.
You may e-mail Dave Barkholz at [email protected]