Worker vote scheduled on plan likely to cut Visteon pay

The Toledo Blade

Union workers at 15 Visteon Corp. auto parts plants […] will vote next week on a plan that calls for selling most of the factories and likely will lead to lower wages for the workers who are left.

The plan, which includes a buyout offer for 5,000 of the 18,600 mostly Ford Motor Co. workers at Visteon, was endorsed yesterday by the United Auto Workers leadership, who agreed to ask workers to support it.

‘It’s a good agreement that’s about trying to save the company and save these jobs,’ said Lloyd Mahaffey, the UAW’s regional director for Ohio.

Visteon, the nation’s second-largest auto-parts firm, was a spinoff in 2000 from Ford, but has been unprofitable.

Under the restructuring plan that will cut costs, Visteon would give two of its plants back to Ford and transfer the other 13 into a holding company, which it then would try to sell. Two of the 13, however, would be closed or work would be transferred out.

The employees would continue making the $60 an hour in wages and benefits comparable to the Big Three until their current contract expires in September, 2007, at which point lower wages are expected to be imposed.

That is estimated to be $15 an hour, or about half the comparable Big Three wage, and more in line with pay in many independent unionized parts plants.

Bob Arheit, president of Local 1216 in Sandusky, said Visteon’s finances have been so poor in recent years that the company could have gone into bankruptcy, abandoned its pension plans, or just closed the plants.

‘It could have been a lot worse,’ he said.

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