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Future of Delphi may be in doubt

Community leaders are continuing to monitor a developingsituation that could impact the future of the Delphi PackardElectric plant in Brookhaven.

Amid negotiations between the union and management, speculationcirculating in recent days has indicated the days of the plant onIndustrial Park Road in Brookhaven could be numbered, with itspossible closure as soon as October. However, a Delphi spokeswomandownplayed such comments when contacted Friday.

“There is no announcement to be made on the closure of the plant inBrookhaven,” said Rachelle Valdez, Delphi director ofCommunications and Marketing.

Valdez said there has been no change in the ongoing operations atthe Brookhaven facility. She had no comment when asked about anOctober closure.

“We continue to evaluate the competitiveness of all of ouroperations to compete in a global market,” said Valdez, adding thatdiscussions are being held toward maintaining the long-termoperation of the local facility.

A call seeking comment from union leaders of the Brookhaven plant’sIUE-CWA Local 718 was not returned Friday.

However, a source said a recent union vote on a new five-yearcontract was rejected in an 11-94 vote. The union was given untilMay 15 to reverse its decision.

On Friday, according to the source, local management was notifiedthat severance packages were being put together and the plant’sclosure would be expedited. October was mentioned as the date forclosing the plant, which employs an estimated total of around 250people.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield was hopeful a resolution could be reachedto allow the Delphi plant’s continued operation in Brookhaven. Heacknowledged a lot of rumors circulating about the plant.

“I do hope those working on negotiations for the labor sideunderstand the severity of the issues involved,” Brumfieldsaid.

Brumfield said there are literally thousands of people across thecountry who would like to have the quality, high-paying jobsprovided by Delphi. If a company with those jobs were consideringlocating here, he said the chamber would be “jumping though hoops”and doing all it could to land it in this community.

“We’re living in a very tough economy in which businesses have tomake some tough decisions,” Brumfield said.

Brumfield said current talk about the plant’s future is only”rumors and speculation at this point.”

“Regardless of what anyone may have heard, that is where we are,”Brumfield said.