By Kalea Hall
The IUE-CWA Local 717 has claimed a small victory, but the fight to keep work at the local Delphi Corp. plants is not over.
The union and Delphi signed off recently on a settlement agreement under the National Labor Relations Board after the union alleged the company worked to implement a buyout program without permission.
The IUE-CWA 717 of Warren represents 663 workers.
“We just want them [the workers and the community] to know that we are fighting,” said Brian Lutz, IUE-CWA Local 717 shop chairman. “I think it put Delphi on notice that the National Labor Relations Board does look at these things – and they do act.”
Delphi did not respond to a request to comment.
In early 2016, just a couple of months after the union ratified a new agreement, the company wanted to talk about an opportunity for older employees who wanted to retire.
“Their intention was to get rid of the work,” Lutz said. “We realized that.”
Delphi wanted to offer a buyout to 30 skilled trades workers, but only 17 took the buyout, the union said. The union wanted to get 17 new workers at a competitive wage that would have been 85 percent of a retiring employee’s wage of about $30 per hour.
Instead, the union says Delphi brought in contract workers to do the work of the 17.
Eight other skilled trades workers were laid off and their jobs were outsourced, the union said.
Lutz initially filed one allegation against the company to the NLRB, but then others were added and the union ended up with 13 individual allegations against the company to support the charge of violating Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.
Section 7 of the act guarantees employees “the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection,” as well as the right “to refrain from any or all such activities.”
Gregory Gleine, supervisory attorney for the NLRB, explained that when a charging party files a charge, it initiates an investigation.
“We try to get the companies to reach some sort of settlement prior to reaching a formal complaint,” Gleine said.
Settlements are very common. The settlement means the regional NLRB found merit in an unfair labor practice charge.
After the settlement agreement was reached and signed by both the union and the company at the end of September, the company had to post a “Notice to Employees” about what it will and will not do.
“By [Delphi] executing [the settlement], that does not mean they admit they violated the act,” Gleine said. “It’s one of those things were the parties reached an amicable compromise.”
Lutz said he didn’t believe any more would be done, so he decided to go forward with the settlement.
Lutz is reaching out to the international union to file grievances against the company. The goal is to get the work lost returned to plant workers.
“This settlement could help out that process,” Lutz said.
In October, leadership at the IUE-CWA Local 717 announced that they were able to get the number of layoffs Delphi wanted down to eight from 88. At Delphi’s Plant 10, a wire plant on North River Road in Warren, the company planned to outsource 20 percent of its cable operations to a facility in Los Mochis, Mexico, due to competitive issues.
Twenty percent of the wire division at Plant 10 is going to Mexico to save on costs associated with shipping, but the jobs aren’t going with it. Delphi will bring in five new part numbers to Plant 10, which means new work is coming, the union said.
The eight workers laid off were a part of Plant 11, a metal stamping plant located in Warren next to Plant 10. Those laid off were tool and dye makers.
Delphi also has Plant 47 in Vienna where plastic-injection molding is done.