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Union approves new contract with Delphi

The future of Brookhaven’s Delphi plant andits approximately 250 jobs looks positive.

    Members of the IUE-CWA Local 718 union at the Delphi PackardElectric Systems plant approved a new five-year labor contract onTuesday. The union ratified the proposed contract by a vote of116-15, a source said.

    Chandra Nunnery, union president, was unable to comment whenreached Wednesday morning. A Delphi corporate spokeswoman referredquestions about the vote to union leadership.

    Local leaders welcomed news of the union vote approving thecontract.

    “It is both welcome and very exciting for our community,” saidBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield.

    Throughout contract negotiations between the union and Delphi,Brumfield had remained positive about plant’s continued future inthe area. Now, he said, the certainly from Delphi’s continuedpresence could bring future investment and that increased plantwages would ripple throughout the community.

    “We look forward to Delphi being a member of our business communityfor many years,” Brumfield said.

    According to a June 29 Memorandum of Understanding signed by unionleaders and Delphi representatives and voted on Tuesday, the unionwas able to obtain an increase in wages over current levels.

    According to the document, a general wage increase of 3 percentwill occur this December. December of 2014 will see a 4 percentwage increase.

    Wage scales at Delphi are divided into three levels. Currentemployees working at the lowest level earn $10.91 an hour, but thememo states that new employees hired at this level will receive $10an hour.

    The union also agreed to reduce its operating staff to four and togradually lower the number of paid holidays.

    Of the approximately 250 jobs at Delphi, 140 are union members.

    With a positive union vote, only one step remains. According to thememo, Brookhaven management must secure approval from Delphi’sbusiness team before a collective bargaining agreement can befinal.

    During contract negotiations that were at times contentious, Delphimanagement had stated its intent to move some of the plant’sequipment to Mexico and seemed poised to shut Brookhaven’s plantdown if contact negotiations did not successfully conclude. With anew contract in place, equipment that had been crated up forshipment to Mexico is expected to be returned to the local plantfloor, a source said.

    As union members were voting on the contract until 9 p.m. Tuesday,city leaders were hoping for a positive outcome. The plantsituation came up at last night’s city board meeting.

    “Brookhaven needs those jobs at Delphi,” said Mayor LesBumgarner.