News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Delphi employees have every right to be mad

Delphi Corp. employees should not go on strike, but they should not be faulted for considering it.

Explaining why he thought there would be no slowdowns or strikes, Delphi Chief Executive Officer Steve Miller said, "Those are loyal, upstanding people we have working in our facilities, and they are adults."

The implication being that only the childish would go on strike when their employer is in such a precarious situation.

An automobile analyst took the same approach in an interview Thursday.

Referring to Delphi employees, she said, "These are thinking, rational people. They're not animals. There has got to be a better option than striking. This is not the time for a strike."

By implication, therefore, only an animal would consider a strike.

Both are correct in one sense. A bankruptcy could bury what's left of Delphi, and might even push General Motors Corp. into bankruptcy. Neither result would help Limestone County's hourly employees.

The condescension in their comments, however, is unmistakable.

Mr. Miller received a $3 million bonus when he accepted Delphi's helm in July. He is making $1.5 million a year while he remains there. He cannot understand the emotions flooding Delphi employees.

Maybe in today's economy Delphi wages are too high. Its employees worked hard and in good faith for the company, though.

They have planned their lives around an income that Mr. Miller said will be cut in half. They have worked with the expectation that their efforts would be rewarded with job security, an expectation bashed by the bankruptcy. They planned for promised retirement pensions, not realizing until too late that those promises were written in disappearing ink.

A Delphi strike would be counterproductive. Suggesting that employees' consideration of the option makes them like children or animals is obnoxious and condescending. Delphi employees believe they were betrayed. They have every right to be angry.

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