Delphi Corp., the bankrupt auto parts maker, has demanded 24,000 hourly job cuts over the next three years in a plan that union leaders refuse to submit to the company’s workers for a vote. According to the Detroit Free Press, the job cuts would eliminate about two-thirds of union workers and would be combined with steep wage cuts under Delphi’s plan, which could dramatically increase the chances of a strike by the UAW and other unions.
Representatives of several unions told the Free Press that job and wage cuts are so deep that union leaders refuse to submit them to members for a vote, which might open the door for the bankruptcy court to cancel Delphi’s union contracts. The unions would not be able to strike until the court throws out the current agreements or they have established Delphi had committed an unfair labor practice.
The biggest bankruptcy in U.S. automotive history was filed by Delphi in October, which claimed it must cut wages, benefits and jobs for hourly workers to reorganize its money-losing operations. International operations were not included in the bankruptcy. According to Delphi, U.S. union hourly workers cost it about $65 per hour in total compensation, compared to competitors that pay workers from one-half to one-third as much.