Herald Bulletin Staff Reporter

Delphi Automotive System will transfer 121 employees to Kokomo's Delphi Electronics plant on Monday. The company and its union said the move has no connection to Tuesday's announcement that Plant 11 would close.

A spokesperson from the company's Troy, Mich., headquarters said production demand in Kokomo prompted the transfer of employees from plants 11 and 20.

"We have a contractual obligation with the plants to provide workers as needed. It made good business sense," said Delphi media relations representative Kathyrn Oldham.

United Auto Workers Local 662 president Cindy Miller said Delphi employees signed contracts months ago agreeing to transfers.

"Some may have considered the uncertainty, and rumors, surrounding the plant in Anderson and decided to agree to transfer if they were asked," said Miller. "Other people live closer to Kokomo and wanted to transfer."

According to Miller, the majority of those transferring have less than 10 years seniority with Delphi.

Anderson's Frank Owens, who works in Plant 11, never thought the transfer would happen.

"I got a Western Union mail-a-gram from Delphi on June 28 telling me I was to report to Kokomo's plant on July 22. I honestly thought we would have been sold to Delco by then and I would not have to transfer," said Owens, 34, who has worked on the generator line for three years. "I was shocked and disappointed with what happened (Tuesday). It's just another nail in the coffin for the economy. It is sad to keep seeing jobs leaving the community."

Delphi announced plans Tuesday to close Plant 11 after it failed to reach an agreement to sell the generator plant to Anderson-based Delco Remy America.

©2000 The Herald Bulletin