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October 13, 2005 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-13

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NEWS
Delphi may cut wages in spring

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 13, 2005 - 5A

CEO says company is paying its
workers wages two to three times
more than its competitors
TROY (AP) - Delphi Corp.'s hourly work-
ers could see wage and benefit cuts as early as this
spring, officials from the auto supplier, which sought
bankruptcy protection last weekend, said yesterday.
Delphi Chairman and CEO Robert Miller said
the Troy-based company plans to propose cuts to
its unions on Oct. 21. If an agreement isn't reached
by mid-December, Delphi will ask a bankruptcy
judge to void its contracts. Delphi attorney John
Butler said he didn't expect any litigation over the
contracts until the first quarter of next year.
Miller said he will work closely with the Unit-
ed Auto Workers union, which represents most
of the company's 30,000 U.S. hourly workers, to
craft a new contract. He said Delphi could have
asked the bankruptcy court for emergency relief
from its labor contracts but didn't.
Miller said he understands workers are angry,
but the company is paying hourly workers two to
three times more than its competitors. Delphi's
autoworkers are paid $27 an hour, and their total
wage and benefit packages are worth around $65
an hour. Delphi has proposed cutting that by
about 60 percent.
"I do not blame these people. They are being
hurt. Their expectations are being dashed,'' Mill-

er said at a news conference. "Globalization has
swept over them, and they are extremely angry."
In a memo sent this week, UAW Local 686 in
Lockport, N.Y., told Delphi workers to prepare
for a strike. It was one of the first indications
that unions could be planning to disrupt Delphi's
operations.
Miller said the best thing workers can do for
their own financial security is to stay on the job.
"I believe the UAW has competent, adult, hon-
est leadership," Miller said. "They understand the
situation, fundamentally understand that abso-
lutely nothing can be gained by a strike at any
Delphi facility other than to hasten and expand
the number of plants that might have to close and
further jeopardize any chance for salvaging and
restoring our pension plan."
Miller also fiercely defended his decision to
boost a severance package for 21 of Delphi's top
executives tomorrow, the day before Delphi filed
for bankruptcy protection.
Under the new agreement, executives will be
eligible for 18 months of pay if Delphi lays them
off. Previously severance packages were capped
at 12 months. In exchange, executives signed
agreements promising not to work for competi-
tors for the 18-month period.
Miller said the industry average for a sever-
ance package is 24 months and Delphi wants
to keep its executives because looking for new
ones would be disruptive. He added that Delphi's

executives haven't gotten bonuses in three of the
last four years and their stock and stock options
have lost value.
"There is no question they could get better
compensation elsewhere, and I know for a fact
the headhunters are swarming," Miller said.
Miller isn't eligible for the package, and he
said he might cut his own $1.5 million base sal-
ary as the company's restructuring proceeds.
"I can be fired tomorrow with no severance,
no pension, no bonus, not even a ticket home,"
Miller said.
Miller wouldn't elaborate yesterday on which
plants are at greatest risk for closure. He said
Delphi will take an extremely hard look at every
plant and see whether it can make it viable.
"If we do all this right, Delphi will remain one
of the world's leading global automotive suppli-
ers. It will be a jewel of a company and a tech-
nological powerhouse for years to come," said
Miller, a restructuring expert who was hired in
July.
"But if we do it badly, Delphi may be broken up
into small pieces. The impact of a collapse could
potentially injure most of the world's automakers
and perhaps fatally wound General Motors. I am
determined not to let that happen."
Delphi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protec-
tion Saturday after failing to reach a restructur-
ing agreement with the UAW and General Motors
Corp., its former parent.

AP PHOTO
Delphi Corp., Chairman and CEO Robert Miller answers a question during a
news conference yesterday.

RECYCLING
Continued from page 1A
that all students have to do is put mate-
rials in the container, take the contain-
ers to the curb, and bring them back
for others to use. "It's pretty much that
simple," he said.
Some students who live off campus, like
LSA sophomore Katherine Gorman, already
are diligent recyclers. Gorman, who now
lives in a house, went out of her way to find
a landlord who made it easy for her to recy-
cle. Her house has a room for recyclables as
well as posters and signs to help her and her
roommates remember to be eco-friendly.
Gorman, who also spoke at the press
conference, said she believes a lack of acces-
sibility is the primary reason students have
difficulties when trying to recycle. "Most
places have the bins, but you have to go get
to them," she said.
Danny Cohen, an LSA sophomore who
lives on Arbor Street, says he and his house-
mates have the bins they need, but often
forget to take them to the curb. "It's terribly
simple - if you remember," said Cohen,
who added that he does care very much
about recycling.
Cohen said his landlord never told him
about recycling, and that he was actually
informed about proper procedure by the last
tenant who lived in his house. Cohen also
expressed the need for literature from land-
lords educating and reminding renters about

recycling.
Other students expressed similar senti-
ments. "I think we need more information
for what we can do. I know what to do at
home, but I don't know how things work in
Ann Arbor," said LSA junior Jeff Hicks,
who lives on Church Street.
According to the program's supporters,
the outcome of the program looks promis-
ing. "If (tenants) have better accessibility,
recycling would skyrocket," Gorman said.
Rachel Steel, a Program in the Environ-
ment senior and Ecology Center intern,
also believes in the potential of the
program. "(Recycling) is a really easy
way to make an impact on the environ-
ment," she said,
All students have to do is put materi-
als in the container, take the contain-
ers to the curb, and bring them back
for others to use. "It's pretty much that
simple," he said.
Some students who live off campus,
like LSA sophomore Katherine Gor-
man, already are diligent recyclers.
Gorman, who now lives in a house,
went out of her way to find a landlord
who made it. easy for her to recycle.
Her house has a room for recyclables
as well as posters and signs to help her
and her roommates remember to be
eco-friendly.
Gorman, who also spoke at the press
conference, said she believes a lack of
accessibility is the primary reason stu-

dents have difficulties when trying to
recycle. "Most places have the bins, but
you have to go get to them," she said.
Danny Cohen, an LSA sophomore
who lives on Arbor Street, says he and
his housemates have the bins they need,
but often forget to take them to the curb.
"It's terribly simple - if you remember,"
said Cohen, who added that he does care
very much about recycling.
Cohen said his landlord never told him
about recycling, and that he was actually
informed about proper procedure by the
last tenant who lived in.his house.
Cohen also expressed the need for
literature from landlords educating and
reminding renters about recycling.
Other students expressed similar
sentiments. "I think we need more
information for what we can do. I know
what to do at home, but I don't know
how things work in Ann Arbor," said
LSA junior Jeff Hicks, who lives on
Church Street.
According to the program's supporters,
the outcome of the program looks promis-
ing. "If (tenants) have better accessibility,
recycling would skyrocket," Gorman said.
Rachel Steel, a Program in the Envi-
ronment senior and Ecology Center
intern, also believes in the potential of
the program..
"(Recycling) is a really easy way to
make an impact on the environment,"
she said.

States prepare for fuel
price surge i n winter

CLEVELAND (AP) - With fuel bills expected to
rise sharply this winter, states are setting aside extra
money for the poor, dispensing energy-conservation tips
and pleading for federal aid to help Americans keep the
heat on when the weather turns cold.
Ohio freed up an additional $75 million for heat-
ing assistance for the needy, and Wisconsin added $16
million. Iowa officials set up a Web site to give peo-
ple advice on how to save energy and get aid, but they
acknowledged that may not be enough.
People "can only turn the thermostat so low before it
affects your health and well-being," said Jerry McKim,
chief of Iowa's Bureau of Energy Assistance, which
helps poor families pay their utility bills. "This is a life-
or-death matter. I have serious anxiety about what folks
will face this winter."
Yesterday, the Energy Department predicted winter
heating bills will be a third to a half higher than last
year for most families across the country - an average
of $350 more for natural gas users and $378 more for
fuel oil users.
The rising prices are blamed largely on Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita, which damaged oil and natural.gas
installations and disrupted production.
More than half of all U.S. households heat with natu-

ral gas. Nearly a third of the country relies on electric
heat, but those homeowners may see their bills go up
too, because many power plants run on natural gas.
Every winter, heating assistance helps people like
Willa Meriweather, a retired graphic artist from Cleve-
land. Before a state-funded nonprofit group helped her
install insulation in the attic of her 85-year-old home, fix
its leaky roof and seal old windows, her gas bills soared
out of her reach: as high as $473 a month.
"I got one of those big, old houses with a teen suite
and I couldn't use it in the wintertime. Now I can use
it," said Meriweather, 60. "I'm slightly worried about
this winter, but thank God I don't think my bills will
be as high as it was before."
This winter could see many more applicants for the
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program with
not enough money to go around. Congress provided $2.2
billion for the program last year, but this year President
Bush has proposed cutting it to about $2 billion.
Twenty-nine governors have asked Washington for
$1.3 billion more for emergency energy assistance.
There has been no immediate action from Congress
on the request.
"This program is critical to the elderly, disabled and
children of this state," Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack said.

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