Washington, DC—Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) today inserted the following statement into the Congressional Record regarding the reprehensible actions Delphi has taken during their bankruptcy proceedings. Higgins’ statement is below.
“Mr. Speaker, few communities have suffered more from the decimation of the American manufacturing sector than Western New York.
“In the Buffalo of my youth, any person willing to work hard enough could make a decent living for his or her family at one of our great industrial plants. It is no secret that those days are gone. Factories have closed, healthcare benefits have been dropped, wages have fallen and pensions are in trouble. Competition for remaining jobs is intense and those lucky enough to have a job live in constant fear that it will be outsourced or that their wages, health insurance or pension benefits will be cut.
“One of the last bastions of good-paying manufacturing jobs in Western New York is the auto industry. Over nine thousand workers in my congressional district are employed at the Delphi plant in Lockport, the American Axle facilities which supply General Motors in Tonawanda and Cheektowaga, and the Ford Stamping Plant in Woodlawn.
“So far, we have been lucky – as bad as things look now, they could be much worse. The Ford Stamping Plant was spared in the first round of plant closings Ford announced in January. And the Lockport plant will be one of the few to survive the recently announced Delphi closings. However, there will not be much relief for the Delphi workers in New York and elsewhere, because of unconscionable actions taken by the company in bankruptcy proceedings.
“Delphi has asked the bankruptcy court to slash wages, jobs, healthcare and retirement benefits by voiding the collective bargaining agreements that were negotiated between the company and its workers. Such disregard for the collective bargaining process is incomprehensible in light of the fact that Delphi was recently able to come to an agreement with the United Auto Workers on an attrition program to save costs. Rather than flouting the collective bargaining agreements, Delphi should have re-engaged its workers in a good-faith manner to find a solution together.
“If the bankruptcy court cancels the current contracts it will have devastating effects not only on the workers who rightfully relied on those agreements, but also on General Motors itself. This is a risky and unnecessary gamble Delphi is taking, and the economic health of thousands of families hangs in the balance.
“I strongly urge Delphi to reconsider its ill-advised request to cancel its contracts and to engage its workers in a constructive, good-faith manner that respects the collective bargaining process and the workers who depend on it.”