Delphi workers pressed to decide

Delphi workers pressed to decide http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070626/BUSINESS01/706260320/1014
After 21 months of negotiations, Delphi Corp.'s UAW workers learned
Monday that they have just two or three days to decide whether to ratify a new agreement that would offer payouts and buyouts in exchange for slashing their wages, jobs and plants.
Workers said the deal also would:
Call for new competitive work rules within 60 days at the four plants Delphi plans to keep open.
Last through Sept. 14, 2011.
Eliminate the sometimes controversial union policy of guaranteed employment at Delphi.
The union hopes to wrap up voting by the end of the day Thursday.
Reaction ranged from relief to frustration Monday as workers exited informational meetings at Delphi plants across the country.
"There were a lot of angry words at the end of the meeting," said Brian Merritt, a machinist at the Delphi plant in Lockport, N.Y., one of the plants Delphi will keep open. "I've got mixed feelings about it. ... I honestly don't know if it will pass. I think it will, because people are glad to have jobs, but they don't give us a lot of time to think about it."
Workers and industry observers predicted the vote will be close but said they believe the contract will be ratified because the majority of those voting won't see a major change to their wages and because workers are being given so little time to consider their options.
Several workers said they believed the deal would pass because the alternative could be worse. If the contract isn't ratified, the matter could be decided by a bankruptcy judge.
There are about 17,000 UAW members at Delphi and about 4,000 are earning GM wages. The rest are already working at about the same level as the proposed wages.
"I like what I've seen, personally," Tim Doyle, 45, of Bay City, told Bloomberg News. Doyle joined Delphi in December and is considered a temporary worker. "Getting this job was a blessing for me."
The proposal would offer about 4,000 workers who make GM wages of about $28 an hour a so-called buydown of $105,000 over three years to accept wages of $14 to $18.50 an hour.
They'll also be offered buyouts of $70,000 and $140,000, depending on seniority.
Newer workers would be offered severance packages of $1,500 per month for every month worked, with a cap of $40,000.
The contract, agreed to Friday, calls for Delphi to maintain operations at four UAW plants, sell four plants, transfer ownership of three to another party by way of GM and close at least 10 plants.
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger credited GM Monday with helping to reach the deal.
"If it weren't for" GM Chief Financial Officer "Fritz Henderson and his team ... this agreement never would have come about," Gettelfinger said in an interview on "The Paul W. Smith Show" on WJR-AM (760) in Detroit.
GM shares rose to their highest level in four months on Monday, closing at $36.27, after analyst Robert Barry of Goldman Sachs upped his rating of the stock to "buy" from "neutral," saying the Delphi agreement may hint that the UAW will grant larger concessions than expected to GM in this summer's contract negotiations.
UAW, GM and Delphi representatives declined comment on Monday.
Several GM-compensated workers, in both assembly and skilled trades, said they were relieved by what they've seen in the deal and the way it was proposed. They said the UAW representatives who conducted the informational meetings weren't selling the deal -- they simply told workers to consider the facts and then vote on whether the proposal works for them.
But others, including Robert Woods, who took an early-retirement package from the Saginaw steering plant but is still eligible to vote on the proposed contract, are reluctant to vote for the plan until people have had more time to make thoughtful decisions about whether to accept the potentially life-changing proposals.
"I just don't think that's enough time," he said. "At least give us a week or two so people can read through things. ... I'm going to vote 'no' until I know all the details," he said. "I can't just vote on highlights."
Workers received summaries of the 46-page tentative agreement at the meetings where UAW representatives answered worker questions, saying this is the best deal they could get.
"I'm inclined to say, maybe they can come back and get a little bit more" for production workers, said Marc Amante, 57, a skilled trades worker in Delphi's Grand Rapids plant. "I'm listening to the negotiators, and they're saying that more is not on the table anymore."
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Its a tough situations for the company and the workers both.
One provision in union contracts that always truck me as odd. And, that is of work guarantees. There is really no such thing as a work guarantee. Heck, the company can't even guarantee the changes to future business climate will allow them to be around..how can they guarantee work for people?
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jcr wrote:

Maybe that is/was the infamous jobs bank under another name?
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I believe the original intent of the jobs bank was to retain skills during temporary downturns, and jobs lost due to outsourcing. It gave the companies a "bank" of employees experienced at their jobs available when things picked up.
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