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UAW and Delphi Not Close in Wage Negotiations

The United Auto Workers president says negotiations on buyouts and wage cuts between Delphi and the union are still far apart as the March 30 deadline appraches.

According to United Auto Workers Union President Ron Gettelfinger, the union and Delphi Corp., along with its former parent company General Motors Corp., are still far apart in negotiations on buyouts and wage cuts that the auto-parts maker says it needs to stay in business.

"Right now, everything's up in the air," Gettelfinger told The Detroit News on Tuesday. "Honestly, that's the truth. The entire process is in the air."

On Oct. 8, Delphi filed for bankruptcy protection and chief executive Steve Miller said that he will try to overturn union contracts if an agreement is not reached by March 30. Union leaders say that could lead to a strike.

The UAW represents most of Delphi's 34,000 hourly workers. About a quarter are represented by the IUE-CWA, part of the Communications Workers union.

According to Delphi, wages it inherited from a 1999 spin-off from GM hinder its ability to compete. Delphi spokeswoman Claudia Piccinin told the The Detroit News that the company does not plan to extend talks any longer after doing so twice before.

"We understand that our discussions need to have an end date to them, and that progress needs to be made, and that a restructuring plan needs to come together in short order," she said. "Therefore, we've set the end of March as our deadline."

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