Delphi will cut back to two shifts

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 12, 2008

Recent turmoil within one of the nation’s leading automotiveindustries has resulted in a planned round of job cuts atBrookhaven’s Delphi Packard Electric Systems facility.

Delphi Director of Communications Rachelle Valdez said thescheduled closing of four General Motors Corp. truck and SUVassembly plants has translated into a workforce reduction at allDelphi centers. Brookhaven’s Delphi center will terminate its thirdshift and operate on two shifts beginning at the end of June, shesaid.

“Over the past several months, there has been a steady declinein GM volume,” Valdez said. “We are adjusting our staffing andproduction levels to meet customer demand.”

Valdez said Delphi manufactures bus electrical systems for theGMT 900 series truck, one of the GM vehicles scheduled for areduction due to lack of consumer demand because of increased gasprices.

The exact number of people who will be impacted by the plannedworkforce reduction was not immediately available.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield said any reduction in Delphi’s staff ofapproximately 440 employees would have some negative impact on thelocal economy, but pointed out that such a workforce reduction isnot uncommon in the automotive industry. Many other Delphi centersacross the country are facing possible closings.

“Although not positive news, it’s definitely a sign of the timesin our current economy,” he said. “Many industries around the stateand nation are having to make reductions in output during oureconomic correction, which unfortunately results in a reduction oflabor hours.”

Brumfield pointed to the delays in opening the Tupelo area’s newToyota plant as part of the same economic cycle that has forced jobcuts at Delphi.

“These shifts do not signal a plant shutdown – it’s normal fordifferent industrial sectors throughout the year to have up anddown cycles,” he said. “Naturally, any manufacturer tied to theautomotive industry is experiencing these trends – the law ofsupply and demand applies to all products.”

Brumfield said the cuts in jobs and GM vehicle production arerelated to Americans’ search for fuel efficient transportation, anda decreased demand for new cars in general, as people struggle withfuel prices, inflation, mortgage rates and other economicfactors.

Brumfield, while concerned, is not alarmed, however.

“Delphi has made great strides in maintaining its Brookhavenfacility as one of the most productive and profitable plants thecompany owns,” he said. “I feel confident they will be able tomaintain that status during this temporary downturn.”