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DELPHI PACKARD Early-retirement goal is reached



Published: Wed, April 10, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Job reductions were possible if enough workers didn't accept the offer.

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

WARREN -- Salaried workers at Delphi Packard Electric Systems have avoided the threat of losing their jobs because enough workers have taken early-retirement offers.

Delphi Corp., the Michigan-based parent company of Packard, said it wanted to cut 1,400 salaried jobs, including 650 in North America, by March 31. Job reductions were possible if the numbers weren't reached.

Ann Cornell, a Packard spokeswoman, said, however, that the early retirements reached those levels, so the company isn't looking to let other workers go.

She said numbers on how many Packard workers accepted early retirement were not available.

Numbers: At the start of this year, Packard had 1,900 salaried workers in this area and 4,700 hourly workers. Packard makes wiring systems and electrical components for cars and trucks as well as appliances, computers and other products.

Delphi, the largest maker of auto parts, employs more than 200,000 people worldwide.

It has been looking to reduce operating costs as vehicle sales have fallen from record numbers a couple years ago.

Packard's work force has been falling as its older employees retire. About 730 hourly workers retired last year, and about 1,600 are eligible to retire next year when a $15,000 retirement bonus will be available.

Office space: Part of Packard's plan to reduce costs is consolidating its office space, Cornell said.

Packard has been closing offices in the Mahoning Valley for the past two years as leases expire. The latest example of this is the Valley Building on Youngstown Road in Warren. Administrative workers have been shifted out of that building for the past couple years and the last employees are leaving this month as a lease expires.

Another example is a testing center built in Champion, which allowed Packard to close testing centers it had in four other locations.

Most of Packard's office staff is located at its North River Road and Dana Street plants. Cornell said space has been opened in both of these plants because of lean manufacturing techniques which have created more efficient use of space.

Cornell said all leases are being reviewed, including that of its headquarters in Liberty and a technical center on Youngstown Road.

shilling@vindy.com




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