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Delphi offering buyouts, early retirement

Delphi Corp. will offer workers buyouts of up to $140,000 and other payments in exchange for wage concessions meant to help the struggling auto supplier emerge from bankruptcy and avoid a strike, according to a published report.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Delphi Corp. will offer workers buyouts of up to $140,000 and other payments in exchange for wage concessions meant to help the struggling auto supplier emerge from bankruptcy and avoid a strike, according to a published report.

The incentives for ratifying the deal vary in order to appeal to Delphi’s many hourly constituencies, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday, citing people familiar with the deal whom it didn’t name. The Associated Press left a message seeking comment with a Delphi spokesman.

Delphi and United Auto Workers leadership signed the agreement Friday, but it still must be approved by the company’s 17,000 UAW members and a federal bankruptcy judge in New York. Union members expect to hear details on the pact beginning Monday.

Local union officials have already said the deal would provide three annual payments of $35,000 each for about 4,000 UAW workers who would see their hourly wages cut from about $28 to between $14.50 to $18.50 beginning Oct. 1. During the buy-down period, those workers also could try to return to General Motors Corp., Delphi’s former parent company.

Other incentives, according to the Free Press, include:

  • A $140,000 buyout for workers with more than 10 years of service, and a $70,000 buyout for those with the company for less than 10 years.
  • A $35,000 payment to encourage workers with at least 30 years of service to retire.
  • Retirement benefits for workers age 50 and above with at least 10 years of service.
  • A program for workers with at least 26 years of service that allows them to stop working but be paid as active workers at the lower rates until they reach 30 years of service and retire.
  • $1,500 per month severance pay for every month worked — up to $40,000 — for all supplemental and temporary employees who choose to leave the company.

The plan would also leave Troy-based Delphi operating only four UAW plants: Grand Rapids; Kokomo, Ind.; Lockport, N.Y.; and Rochester, N.Y. GM, or a third-party designated by GM, would operate Delphi’s Flint East and Saginaw manufacturing plants, and the Needmore Road plant in Dayton, Ohio. Delphi plans to sell its Saginaw steering plant and others in Adrian; Sandusky, Ohio; and Cottondale, Ala. It would close at least 10 others, including Coopersville; Columbus, Ohio; and Milwaukee.

If approved, the pact would end the threat of a strike that could have shut down production at GM, Delphi’s largest customer.

Delphi, which lost $533 million in the first quarter and $5.5 billion in 2006, has said reducing labor costs is key to its plans to emerge from bankruptcy later this year. A labor deal is a requirement for Delphi to get up to $3.4 billion from private equity investors.