Delphi to keep Kokomo plant; Anderson uncertain

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Indianapolis, March 31 - Auto parts supplier Delphi Corporation says it will keep its plant in Kokomo, but its plant in Anderson is not on a list of eight plants it says are critical to the company's operation.

Delphi is asking a federal bankruptcy court to void its labor contracts. It's part of a controversial restructuring that calls for layoffs of up to 8,500 salaried workers and the sale or closure of 21 of its 29 US plants.

Delphi has more than 6,000 workers in Indiana, mostly in Anderson and Kokomo.

There are about 5,000 workers at Delphi's Kokomo plant, making the company Indiana's third largest industrial employer, and about 800 that work in Anderson.

Reacting to the news, Anderson Mayor Kevin S. Smith said, "The city of Anderson has had ongoing communications with Delphi Corporation, as well as the UAW. Anderson plays a supportive role to Delphi's Kokomo operation. Anderson's Delphi manufacturing operation is involved in electrical/electronic architecture that has been identified by the company as a core strategic product line.

"While the city of Anderson values greatly the contribution Delphi makes to the community of Anderson, the city no longer depends on any single employer or market segment. Anderson has adopted an aggressive economic development sales effort in the past several years. Many new businesses have been established that draw from our former labor pool. These new Anderson businesses represent a shift in employment to a diversified economy."

Delphi says the plants it will keep will focus on product lines such as safety features, electronics, diesel and gas powertrains and climate control products.

Twenty-one other plants will be sold or closed.

A list of 21 Delphi Corp. plants that the auto parts supplier says will be sold or closed under its latest plan.

Adrian, Mich. - instrument panels, heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) assemblies
Anderson, Ind. - remanufactured service generators, ignition products
Athens, Ala. - steering products
Columbus, Ohio - power products, latches
Coopersville, Mich. - fuel injectors
Cottondale, Ala. - cockpit assemblies
Dayton, Ohio (Home Avenue) - engine mounts, brake products
Dayton, Ohio (Needmore) - brake products
Fitzgerald, Ga. - batteries
Flint, Mich. - air filters, fuel modules, air meters, air induction systems, instrument clusters
Gadsden, Ala. - instrument panels and consoles
Kettering, Ohio - suspension products, fan clutches
Laurel, Miss. - plastic injection and stamped steel subassemblies for batteries, actuators, and ignition products
Milwaukee (E&C) - catalytic converters
Milwaukee (E&S) - powertrain controllers, body and security products, throttle control mechanisms
Moraine, Ohio - air conditioning compressors
New Brunswick, N.J. - batteries
Saginaw, Mich. (E&C) - brake and chassis corner modules
Saginaw, Mich. (Steering) - steering products, such as steering gears, power steering pumps, steering columns, intermediate shafts and driveline products, such as halfshafts
Sandusky, Ohio - wheel bearings, roller clutch bearings
Wichita Falls, Texas - conical oxygen sensors
(Source: Delphi Corp. filing in U.S. bankruptcy court.)

A timeline of events surrounding auto parts supplier Delphi Corp.:

1999: Delphi is spun off from General Motors Corp., which remains the auto supplier's largest customer.

Feb. 23, 2005: J.T. Battenberg III, Delphi's founding chairman and CEO, announces he will retire.

June 23, 2005: Veteran turnaround specialist Robert S. "Steve" Miller is named chairman and CEO. He says he won't seek bankruptcy protection as a way to reduce the company's massive labor and health care costs.

Aug. 5, 2005: Delphi confirms it is in talks with its main unions and GM about restructuring its U.S. operations to avoid bankruptcy.

Oct. 8, 2005: Delphi files for bankruptcy protection.

Dec. 16, 2005: Delphi's first deadline for asking a bankruptcy judge to void its union contracts is pushed back to Jan. 20.

Jan. 20: Delphi's second deadline for asking a bankruptcy judge to void its union contracts is pushed back to Feb. 17.

Feb. 17: Delphi's third deadline for asking a bankruptcy judge to void its union contracts is pushed back to March 30.

March 22: Delphi and GM announce deals with the United Auto Workers that would help the companies cut labor costs by offering early-retirement buyouts. At Delphi, up to 5,000 workers will be eligible to return to GM, while 13,000 U.S. hourly workers will be eligible for a lump sum payment of up to $35,000 to retire.

March 30: Delphi's fourth deadline for asking a bankruptcy judge to void its union contracts passes without word of an agreement.

March 31: Delphi says it will ask a federal bankruptcy court to void its labor contracts as part of a restructuring that calls for layoffs of up to 8,500 salaried workers and the sale or closure of 21 of its 29 U.S. plants.

May 9-10: U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain expected to hold a hearing on Delphi's request to void its labor contracts.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)