UAW Local 2488 posted an item on its Web site saying Mitsubishi asked the union to consider taking a lump sum instead of hourly wage restoration set to start in April, according to media reports. The posting has since been removed from the Web site.

Union workers at the Mitsubishi Motors North America plant in Normal who took pay and benefit cuts in 2006 might not have their wages restored this spring as promised in their current labor contract, according to the first of what is expected to be many offers suggested by the company.


United Auto Workers Local 2488 posted on its Web site that Mitsubishi officials met with the union and requested it consider taking a lump-sum payment instead of the $4.03 an hour wage restoration set to occur in April, according to media reports. The posting, which has since been removed from the union’s Web site, reportedly stated the payment would be about $3,400, the amount equal to the total wage restoration for the period from April 7 to Aug. 28.


It was unclear how offering a lump sum instead of a total wage restoration would benefit either side.


Union President Ralph Timan would not confirm the reports but said the union wants to keep members informed.


"We have an agreement in place until August of 2008, and we expect them to honor that agreement in the good faith it was negotiated," Timan said.


Mitsubishi spokesman Dan Irvin said the automaker met with the union earlier this month in Detroit but declined to comment on the details of the meeting.


According to media reports, the union’s Web site stated Mitsubishi told union leaders the company had not met its financial goals at the facility for the 2007 fiscal year.


In August 2006, union members narrowly approved a deal that cut wages by up to $4 an hour, increased employee health-care costs, eliminated bonuses and stalled company 401K matches to save the company a total of more than $40 million.


"Our members have families that have had to make huge sacrifices over this time," Timan said.


In return, the automaker promised no involuntary layoffs through the expiration of the union contract in August.


There are approximately 1,500 hourly workers at the facility, which once had more than 3,000 workers.

Reach Journal Star reporter Mike Maciag at (309) 686-3251 or