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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Delphi employees right to be angry about cruise

If Delphi Corp. employees are not angry about a luxury cruise that coincided with an announcement that many of them could lose their jobs, they should be.

Last month, as Delphi Chief Executive Officer Steve Miller pronounced the inevitability that hourly employees must suffer from overseas competition, his company was wining and dining non-hourly folk on a weeklong overseas cruise to the Caribbean.

Delphi officials said the trip was part of a rewards program for car dealers and their salespeople to bring in business as Delphi seeks to emerge from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Delphi officials aren't saying, but travel experts pegged the cost of that cruise and another one since Delphi declared bankruptcy at about $1 million.

It may be that the cruises were rational from a business standpoint; that is, they may have generated more than they cost. Also likely, failure to provide the cruises under the rewards program would have broken a promise.

The problem is that Delphi is in the process of breaking promises to tens of thousands of employees. Breaking promises legally, maybe, but breaking them nonetheless. And those tens of thousands of employees are worried not about hitting the beach. They're worried about delayed retirement or feeding their families.

The poor judgment Delphi showed in a post-bankruptcy cruise is the sort of poor judgment that triggers disastrous strikes. Time to wise up, Mr. Miller.

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