Judge Extends Deadline for Delphi Reorganization Plan

A U.S. bankruptcy judge Monday extended bankrupt auto parts maker Delphi Corp.'s sole right to file a reorganization plan for its U.S. operations by about six months to February.

Delphi, which filed the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. automotive history in October, earlier in June asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York for an extension, citing the sheer size and complexity of its Chapter 11 restructuring.

The request was approved at a monthly hearing in New York, a spokesman for Troy, Michigan-based Delphi said.

The previous deadline was Aug. 5, but Delphi said it needed more time to complete plans it has outlined that include wage and benefit cuts for U.S. hourly workers, thousands of job cuts for salaried and hourly workers, and plant closings or sales.

Delphi has agreed along with former parent General Motors Corp. (GM) to offer buyouts and early retirement to thousands of hourly workers represented by its two biggest unions — the United Auto Workers and the International Union of Electrical Workers-Communications Workers of America.

Delphi, which expects to cut four-fifths of its more than 33,000 U.S. hourly workers by 2010, has hoped that offers of buyouts and early retirement will make wage and benefit cuts more palatable to blue-collar workers who stay.

In March, Delphi sought court permission to throw out its labor contracts and reject thousands of parts contracts with GM, while pursuing settlements out of court.

A hearing into the labor-contract request started in May, but has been suspended until August while Delphi continues talks with its unions. A hearing into the GM contract request has been put off until August as well.