Aptiv Offers Buyouts to Make Room for New Technology

WARREN, Ohio – Aptiv PLC, the recently renamed outfit that operates four former Delphi plants here, plans to upgrade its production equipment and replace the obsolescent presses now being used to manufacture metal terminals, a union official said Thursday.

“These will be the latest, highest-tech metal-stamping presses on the market,” said Brian Lutz, shop chairman at IUE-CWA Local 717. “The presses we have now aren’t functioning like they were 20 years ago.”

Lutz said the company wants to replace the 40 presses now in operation in Plant 11 with 17 highly efficient machines that are able to equal current production. The older equipment was installed about 20 years ago, and those machines were already 10 years old at the time, he noted.

“Now, for the first time since I’ve been here, we’ll have brand new technology in its brand-new state,” Lutz said. “It’s a good thing for Plant 11.”

Lutz said there are between 130 and 135 hourly employees in Plant 11. Twenty-three of those employees – the top 12 seniority in production and the top 11 in the tool and die skilled trades – would be offered buyouts of $100,000 in addition to their retirement and pensions.

Collectively, the four plants employ 605 in Warren.

“There’s some sting to it, but it’s good news,” Lutz said. “Some of the higher seniority people will get their retirement plus $100,000, and the plant will get the new machinery it needs.”

Aptiv is investing heavily in automated-vehicle technology, which requires additional metal terminals used in the electrical components of these vehicles, Lutz said.

“If we don’t have this, we can’t grow,” Lutz said. “There are four times as many terminals in autonomous vehicles than traditional vehicles.”

He said the new equipment helps secure the future of the plant and work for its younger employees. Moreover, it positions the Warren operation to attract additional work as autonomous vehicle technology becomes even more standard across the industry.

“Once this technology starts to take hold, it’s going to create a windfall of work and could lead to more equipment coming into the plant,” he said. “This is the best news in well over 10 years.”

Aptiv was spun off last year as a separate company from Delphi Automotive PLC. During the quarter ended Sept. 30, the company posted net earnings of $222 million on revenues of $3.5 billion.

The new investment would just impact Plant 11, Lutz said. However, there has been additional investment in other parts of the Warren operation.

Plant 7, for example, recently installed new equipment that would allow the company to mix plastic compounds faster and more efficiently for use in Plant 47, the company’s plastic injection molding operation in Vienna.

Those selected for a buyout have until Nov. 17 to apply, Lutz said. “Then, there is a 45-day period to sign the final release, and they have seven days afterward to revoke.” Then, the company would sever employment “as soon as practicable,” he noted.

Initially, the attrition plan was met with some skepticism, but Lutz feels that most understand what is at stake for the plant and the future of the Mahoning Valley.

“I think they’re understanding what this agreement means to them and what it means to the community,” Lutz said.

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