Despite uncertainty, glass still half full with Delphi

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In the midst of labor uncertainty at the Delphi Packard ElectricSystems plant, citizens need to remember to look at this economicglass as still half full.

It is true that over 75 percent of the Brookhaven plant’s workforce has accepted buyout or retirement packages as part of theauto parts maker’s restructuring during its bankruptcyproceedings.

The departures, if done all at once, would leave the plant over200 employees short of what is needed for operation, according to aunion official. That, apparently, will not be happening.

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The plan is to gradually move out departing employees and bringin new workers, albeit at a lower salary, between now and the firstof the year. With some labor issues still to be resolved betweenDelphi and its unions, it is possible some positions will not befilled.

The good news is that the parts produced and quality work doneat Delphi’s Brookhaven and Clinton plants have influenced thecompany to keep the two plants open. A Delphi plant in Laurelcannot claim that distinction.

Union officials would like to see maintenance of current laborforce at current salary levels. The reality in the world ofautomobile production indicates that is not feasible.

This community will feel some economic tremors from the new workarrangement at Delphi. But the tremors will be preferable to apotentially devastating earthquake were the plant to closealtogether.

Keeping 350 or so jobs at a lower salary is better than nolonger having any jobs – regardless of whatever the rate of paywas.

When considering the Delphi situation, everyone would be best tofocus on what water of economic life remains and not fret aboutwhat has been lost.