Daily Edition: Mar. 10, 2006

March 9, 2006

No GM-Delphi Settlement Yet, UAW Says

The United Auto Workers nixed reports indicating that it has reached an agreement with Delphi and General Motors Corp. that would allow both companies to move forward with a sweeping restructuring that would eliminate thousands of union jobs. The UAW, which has had stormy relations with the media for years, also took the unusual step of expressly repudiating stories suggesting the parties were closing in on some kind of deal.

"There are several newspapers and at least one radio station reporting today that the three parties - Delphi, GM, and the UAW - are close to consummating an agreement to the issues in theDelphi bankruptcy. Nothing could be further from the truth and the media is doing a tremendous disservice to our membership and the negotiations process by suggesting the parties are close," the UAW statement said. "The parties are not close to working out such an agreement. There are many, many significant issues to be resolved. Overall the situation has changed very little since our last meeting," the union statement said. "In view of the media reports and the false hopes they tend to create, we thought we should correct the record," the statement said.

The erroneous reports apparently arose with the confirmation that officers from UAW locals representing Delphi workers had asked to attend a meeting in Detroit next week.

Paul Krell, a union spokesman, said the meeting had been planned for a while and the agenda was designed to bring union officials up to date on discussions. "The suggestion that we have an outline of an agreement to review with you is unfortunately, just not true," he added.

Last month, Delphi set a deadline of March 30 for reaching some kind of an accommodation with the UAW and the other unions representing the bankrupt company's hourly employees.  Without an agreement in place, Robert "Steve" Miller, Delphi's chief executive, has said the company will have no choice but to ask the bankruptcy judge to nullify Delphi labor contracts. -Joe Szczesny

Dana Plunges Into Bankruptcy by Joseph Szczesny (3/6/2006)
Quick filing for major supplier adds to Detroit's worries.

Zetsche Focuses on Bribery Scandal

DaimlerChrysler's Dieter Zetsche has always been an excellent student of culture, popular and otherwise. Zetsche had no problem zeroing in on the notion that hip-hop could boost sales, for example. Zetsche may also sense that a current scandal could give him leverage in changing DaimlerChrysler, as reports from Germany this week suggest he's moving to put an end to a culture of corruption that seemed to have developed inside the company during Juergen Schrempp's tenure as chief executive.

While the discussions of the scandal's scope began last autumn, Zetsche has until now sidestepped questions and said he had plenty of confidence in the company's auditing practices.

However, with the release of DaimlerChrysler's annual report for 2005, Zetsche has taken the offensive. In the report, the company disclosed that in recent years a small number of the company's employees had paid or received bribes while conducting company business in various part of the world.

The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission had been investigating the bribery charges, the annual report noted. The SEC investigation was triggered by a lawsuit by a DaimlerChrysler employee based in Auburn Hills, who said he was fired after questioning the existence of accounts in various countries that were used to funnel payments to local officials. The lawsuit was settled but not before allegations that bribery was considered an accepted business practice in some countries in which Mercedes-Benz operated had found their way into print.

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