updated 3/15/2006 4:16:56 PM ET 2006-03-15T21:16:56

The United Auto Workers has had “constructive” talks on a deal with Delphi Corp. and its former parent, General Motors Corp., but the parties still face hurdles in the negotiations, the union said Wednesday.

UAW Vice President Richard Shoemaker met in Detroit with local union leaders who represent about 23,000 Delphi workers across the nation.

Paul Krell, a UAW spokesman, said Shoemaker told the local leaders that talks “have been constructive, that progress has been made, but many significant issues have yet to be resolved.”

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said Tuesday that “everything’s up in the air. Honestly, that’s the truth. The entire process is in the air.”

Troy-based Delphi filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 8. Delphi CEO Steve Miller has said that he will try to overturn union contracts if an agreement is not reached by March 30. Union leaders say that could lead to a strike.

“That’s Mr. Miller’s deadline,” Gettelfinger said. He said the union does not consider itself bound by the deadline.

The UAW represents most of Delphi’s 34,000 hourly workers. About a quarter are represented by the IUE-CWA, part of the Communications Workers union.

“The talks have been constructive. We have had progress,” Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams said Wednesday.

“We’re hopeful to reach a consensual deal sooner rather than later,” Williams said, declining to elaborate.

Delphi said the wages it inherited from a 1999 spin-off from GM hinder its ability to compete.

Delphi spokeswoman Claudia Piccinin told The Detroit News that the company does not plan to extend talks any longer after doing so twice before.

“We understand that our discussions need to have an end date to them, and that progress needs to be made, and that a restructuring plan needs to come together in short order,” she said. “Therefore, we’ve set the end of March as our deadline.”

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