Delphi Corp. has hired more than 2,000 temporary employees to fill jobs expected to be vacated by some of the 12,600 hourly workers accepting early retirement.
The Troy, Mich.-based auto supplier, which has been in bankruptcy since October, announced the results of its attrition program Monday. Delphi has about 33,000 workers, 24,000 of which are represented by the United Auto Workers.
More are likely to leave Delphi — which is trying to shed workers and reduce wages — since the company, former parent General Motors Corp. and two of its unions have agreed to an expanded early retirement and buyout program. That program awaits bankruptcy court approval this week before being rolled out to workers.
The temporary employees, who make about $14 an hour compared with $27, are being trained to ensure smooth production, Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams said Tuesday. Some union local presidents have said they were concerned about production hiccups with so many employees leaving.
Although Delphi plans to close all but eight of its U.S. plants eventually, it still needs to supply its customers.
"This is in anticipation of the openings that will have been created by some of the exits of retiring employees," Williams said.
A UAW local president said he was concerned about temporary employees being trained properly. Mike Hanley, president of Local 699 in Saginaw, Mich., said 1,777 workers out of 3,400 will leave Delphi and 138 will fill open positions at GM.
He said that's a lot of work to put on temporary employees, especially for some of the more complicated machinery.
But Williams said the temporary workers are going through thorough training. At Delphi's Lockport, N.Y., plant, for example, temporary workers receive a week of safety training before they even hit the shop floor for job training.
Delphi, its unions and GM are trying to reach a new, comprehensive labor agreement out of court. Delphi in March filed a motion to throw out its labor contracts. Those hearings are on hold until early August, giving the parties some time to work on a deal without court distractions.
Delphi's unions, including the UAW, have said they would strike if Delphi receives court approval and uses its authority to cancel the labor agreements. A strike could cripple GM, which is in the midst of turning around its money losing North American operations.
GM announced on Monday that 35,000 of its workers accepted early retirements and buyouts.