Local Delphi plant losing equipment

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Brookhaven Delphi Packard Electric Systems plant could begearing up to shut down.

According to a Friday plant memo obtained by The DAILY LEADER,Delphi management has ordered some under-utilized equipment at theBrookhaven plant transferred immediately to a plant in Rio Bravo,Mexico. A source indicated that workers there would train on theequipment toward eventually taking over productionresponsibilities.

As a result of the equipment move, the Brookhaven plant will bechanging from a two-shift, five-day-a-week schedule to one withthree shifts five days a week. The purpose of the added shift willbe to produce parts for stored inventory, followed by a gradualreduction in parts production lines over a six-month period,according to the source.

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“This is a sad day for Delphi Brookhaven … It would appear theend is here,” the source said.

Union leaders at the Brookhaven Delphi plant were unavailable forcomment.

Delphi Director of Communications and Marketing Rachelle Valdezsaid no decisions have been made regarding the Brookhaven Delphiplant and it is continuing to operate.

“We have negotiated in good faith with the local union leadership acompetitive agreement that created a viable plan to competeglobally and keep jobs in the Brookhaven community,” Valdez said,reading from a media statement. “The agreement was not ratified bythe local membership.

“We are hopeful the membership will continue to work with localleadership so we can build on our 30 year tradition of deliveringquality product and services,” continued Valdez, adding that anagreement is necessary to put new business in the Brookhavenfacility.

The equipment move will mean a midnight shift for Brookhaven plantworkers.

As of Friday, plant management informed workers that volunteerswould be sought for the new shift, which is targeted to start up onJune 27. If not enough volunteers for the midnight shift are found,work assignments to it would be based on lowest seniority.

Friday’s memo appears to be the latest move in an ongoing contractdispute between Delphi management and leaders of IUE-CWA Local 718as they pursue a new five-year contract for the union.

One proposal was reportedly rejected by a large margin about amonth ago. And the union’s position on the issue has not changedsince.

Delphi management has reportedly told local plant leaders that theplant’s shutdown is forthcoming. An expedited schedule mentionedpreviously would see the plant closed in mid-October.

The Brookhaven Delphi plant employs around 250 people, although notall are affiliated with the union. Some others work on a contractbasis to provide various services for the plant.

Staff writer Chad Lederman contributed to this report.