Brookhaven Delphi plant expected to be OK

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Brookhaven Delphi workers will have to wait at least until acourt hearing next month to find out for certain what will becomeof their jobs, Delphi officials said Monday.

Communication and Marketing Services Director Rachelle Valdezsaid Brookhaven’s Delphi plant will be among those bought out byprivate equity firm Platinum Equity as a part of Delphi’s move tofree itself of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed in 2005. The $3.6billion sale was announced Monday as Delphi’s former parentcompany, General Motors, filed for bankruptcy protection andannounced plant closures.

Court approval of the Delphi sale is the next step, meaningthere is no immediate way to know what will come of theapproximately 250 jobs at the Brookhaven plant.

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“I don’t know how to answer that,” Valdez said. “Right now thebiggest thing we’re trying to accomplish is to get this through thecourts. It has to be approved, and the first round is thecourts.”

A court hearing is scheduled for July 23.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield said, however, his understanding is thatthe move could end up being a big positive step for local Delphiworkers.

“As I understand it, the plant will remain open but they’ll bemaking adjustments over next few months to reflect demand from GMas they phase down the 2009 model year and gear up for 2010,”Brumfield said. “GM has elected to halt production for a number ofweeks, and this will affect the amount of product produced by theMississippi Delphi plants, but it should be back up by the time the2010 models begin production.”

The Brookhaven plant produces electric centers for automobiles.Delphi also has a plant in Clinton that employs 300 and produceswiring harness components.

Valdez said while Delphi’s Brookhaven plant will become a partof Platinum Equity, other Delphi plants will become a part of GMonce more.

“If you’re talking specifically of the wiring facilities, theywill go with the new company,” she said. “Other U.S. manufacturingsites will go back to GM, steering as a total will go back toGM.”

Amid some auto industry uncertainty, Brumfield said simplyhaving a solution on the horizon bodes well for the MississippiDelphi plants.

“We see this as good news as now there is a plan in place tocontinue Delphi operations in Mississippi,” he said. “Due to thequality and reliable production from the Mississippi factories,they will continue to exist and hopefully grow as GM rebounds fromtheir reorganization.”

And Delphi officials are confident that the reorganization willput the company back on track for the future.

“After an extended period of complex and challenging discussionswith a wide range of stakeholders, we are confident that thesemodifications to our confirmed plan of reorganization will providea resolution that will allow Delphi to emerge from Chapter 11,”said Delphi CEO and President Rodney O’Neal in a press statement.”We are also thankful for the dedicated Delphi employees who haveremained focused on our customers and to the communities in whichwe operate for their unwavering support during the most challengingperiod in our history.”