Labor leaders said bankrupt auto parts maker Delphi Corp. demanded 24,000 hourly job cuts over three years, a plan which union leaders refuse to even submit to the company’s workers for a vote, the Detroit Free Press reported on Thursday.
The newspaper said the job cuts — which would eliminate about two-thirds of Delphi’s union workers — would be coupled with steep wage cuts under the company’s plan, which greatly increases the chances of a strike by the United Auto Workers and other unions.
Citing representatives of several unions, the Free Press said the job and wage cuts are so deep that union leaders refuse to submit them to a vote, which opens the door for the bankruptcy court to cancel Delphi’s union contracts.
But six unions representing 34,000 Delphi workers are working together to fight Delphi’s proposed job cuts in court, the paper said.
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger told the paper that he believes Delphi would prefer to seek permission for unilateral cuts from a bankruptcy judge than to negotiate with the union.
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.
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.