Sunday, May 14, 2006

Delphi has UAW leader arrested, he says

Delphi has UAW leader arrested, he says

The union president said the action followed a complaint about safety and shutdown of a line.
By John Nolan

Staff Writer

DAYTON — The president of United Auto Workers Local 696 said Delphi Corp. had him arrested on a trespassing charge and suspended the union's shop chairman, a day after the union complained of an unsafe workplace and shut down an operation in Delphi's Needmore Road brake plant.

Tuesday in New York, a federal bankruptcy judge will hear Delphi's request to cancel the contracts with its labor unions unless they agree to lower-cost contracts the auto parts company says it needs to get out of bankruptcy reorganization. Members of UAW Local 696 are to vote today on whether to authorize the national union to call a strike if it cannot reach a contract with Delphi.

Joe Buckley, president of Local 696 which represents the brake plant's hourly workers, said Delphi placed union shop chairman Tony Keen on indefinite suspension Friday and could later fire Keen.

Delphi has not replaced janitors who retired May 1, and union members complained the floor had become dirty and slippery around brake cylinder machining equipment, Buckley said Saturday. After Keen asked management on Thursday to have the floor cleaned and received what he thought was an inadequate response, Keen directed union workers to stop work in that area, Buckley said.

"The shop chairman was doing his job, and that was defending the people who elected him," Buckley said of Keen.

Delphi spokesman Brad Jackson said Saturday that the company does not discuss employee matters. Discipline follows Delphi's union contracts, Jackson said.

Buckley, who maintains an office inside the plant, said Delphi's management told him on Friday to leave the premises. Buckley said that after he refused, management called Dayton police and had him arrested, handcuffed and removed on a criminal trespassing charge. Buckley said he was taken to jail, then posted a $124 bond and directed to appear Tuesday in Dayton Municipal Court.



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