The UAW said yesterday it had asked its 24,000 workers at Delphi, the Michigan-based auto-parts supplier that is operating under bankruptcy protection, to vote by May 14 whether to give union leaders permission to call a strike. According to a report in the New York Times, if union leaders order a walkout, both Delphi and General Motors, its top customer, would be severely affected. The move could force GM to file for bankruptcy protection.
The request by Delphi's largest union to proceed with a strike vote is considered a procedural tool meant to give union officials clout in negotiations. It comes before a bankruptcy court hearing scheduled for next week that is to rule on the company's request for permission to set aside its labor contracts and impose lower wage and benefit rates. The Times report said a ruling could come in 30 days, but that judges often delay a decision to encourage the two sides to reach a settlement.