Delphi to cut more jobs in Warren

WARREN — Budget issues at one of Delphi’s local plants will cost 26 workers their jobs, union leaders confirmed Monday.

Although the permanent cuts, effective Sept. 18, will take place divisionwide, the move will result in the downsizing of Plant 11’s workforce.

Workers with the least amount of seniority will be laid off, said Brian Lutz, shop chairman of International Union of Electrical Workers-Communications Workers of America Local 717, which represents workers in the company’s Warren operations.

“It’s a very sad day for Warren,” Lutz said. “We tried everything under the sun to prevent this from happening, but at end of day there really wasn’t very much room to move.”

The company is looking to reduce production to align with demand, Lutz said.

“Obviously, we feel the same effect other companies have experienced with the downturn in the auto industry,” Lutz said. “Just as there’s been a downturn in the auto market, there’s been a downturn for the parts needed to make them. The demand just isn’t there.”

Automakers continue to address lackluster sales numbers and the lingering market shift from smaller cars, like the Chevrolet Cruze made at the General Motors Assembly Complex in Lordstown, to larger vehicles.

The company, formerly Packard Electric and part of General Motors, supplies components used to make harnesses for the automotive industry. At one time, as one of Trumbull County’s top employers and a leading producer of wire harnesses and other electrical automotive components, Delphi’s local operations employed some 10,000 workers.

Delphi was spun off from GM in 1999 to become a separate company. In 1995, it became part of Delphi Automotive Systems. Ten years later, on Oct. 8, 2005, Delphi filed for bankruptcy.

After this next round of layoffs, the company will have 650 local hourly union workers.

Ed Salus, president, IUE-CWA Local 717, said the number of employees Delphi management initially proposed laying off was significantly higher.

“We tried to bring the number down. We did everything we could to lessen the impact,” Salus said. “The number was a lot higher, but we were able to get it down to 26. It still hurts. That was the bottom line. Unfortunately they wouldn’t go below that.”

The company informed the union last summer of its plan to eliminate about 80 jobs. But the union was able to avoid those cuts, Salus said.

Then last month, citing a budget problem at Plant 11 — one of Delphi’s three remaining local facilities — local management announced a “significant number” of skilled and production workers would be cut, union leaders said.

The two sides immediately started negotiating, Salus said.

Delphi representatives could not be reached for comment.

Salus said along with their unemployment, workers who have more than one year will also receive Delphi’s supplemental unemployment benefit. However, because many of the workers have been with the company less than a year, they do not qualify for that benefit.

vshank@tribtoday.com

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