A top United Auto Workers official has told union leaders a strike is more likely than not as U.S. hourly workers oppose steep wage and benefit cuts proposed by bankrupt auto parts maker Delphi Corp., a UAW spokesman said Wednesday.
UAW Vice President Richard Shoemaker told UAW leadership at an annual conference in Detroit Tuesday: "While we prefer to reach a negotiated solution, under the current circumstances a strike appeared more likely than not. That could change and we hope it does," according to UAW spokesman Paul Krell.
Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams said the company remains focused on reaching agreements with all of its unions.
Delphi in October filed for the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. automotive history and said it needed to slash U.S. hourly wages and benefits and reduce its manufacturing operations to reorganize its struggling operations.
The company proposal includes reducing wages to about $12.50 per hour from $27 per hour and other cuts. Delphi also proposes to offer executives bonuses to see through the reorganization.
UAW leaders have called the executive compensation proposal "disgusting" given the demand for cuts from hourly workers and last week said withdrawing its latest contract proposal would be a good place for Delphi to start if it is serious about negotiating with its unions.
Shoemaker previously said Delphi was proposing cutting its U.S. hourly workforce to about one-third of its current 34,750 workers. Delphi has said a strike would only increase the number of U.S. factories that would have to close.