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A federal bankruptcy court judge on Friday approved payment of attorneys and other professionals representing auto parts maker Delphi Corp., which is seeking steep pay cuts from its unionized work force as part of a financial reorganization so it can compete with lower-cost suppliers. Judge Robert Drain of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York also approved the company’s request for clearance to pay its employees including payments that may be required under an executive severance package that had drawn criticism from union leaders. Delphi also got court approval for an “essential supplier program,” that keeps intact relationships with parts suppliers to ensure the supplies of certain parts and raw materials are not interrupted. The judge also approved a process by which Delphi’s creditors committee can monitor Delphi’s interaction with the suppliers. New York law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom is among several firms retained by Delphi. The Troy, Mich.-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 8 after failing to reach a restructuring agreement with the United Auto Workers and General Motors Corp., its former parent. The UAW refused to accept a cut in workers’ average wage rate from $27 an hour to the $10- to $12-an-hour range. Delphi employs about 30,000 U.S. hourly workers. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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