Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Legislation has been introduced to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that would restore the pensions of 22,000 Delphi salaried retirees, although it’s unknown if the bill will ever become law.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, have each introduced a bill that would use proceeds from the sale of government stock of General Motors to a fund at the U.S. Treasury Department that would supplement the Delphi pensions. As part of the Delphi bankruptcy in 2009 the pensions were turned over to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which led to massive cuts for the retirees.
“Thousands of retirees in Ohio dedicated their careers to working for Delphi and General Motors, but many of these retirees have yet to receive the pensions they earned and deserve,” Brown said in a release. “Solutions to restore these pensions are long overdue. It’s time to put politics aside on this issue. Instead of assigning blame for the problem, we should be working together to advance all solutions that may help restore pensions to Delphi retirees. Using proceeds from sale of government’s stake in GM is one of many parallel avenues I’ve been pursuing on behalf of Delphi retirees.”
Den Black, chairman of the Delphi Salaried retirees Association, said his group was appreciative of the move, but many of the retirees need financial help now. Even if the bill were to become law, which Black referred to as a remote chance, it won’t happen anytime soon.
“There are more of us falling by the wayside every week,” Black said.
But, the bill’s introduction gives the salaried retirees an opportunity, Black said.
The DSRA has submitted a proposal to the PBGC, the White House and the U.S. Treasury Department that would top off the pensions, some of which have been reduced from 30 to 70 percent.
Black said the proposal is simple. The amount of money needed to fund the pensions in their entirety is much less than the PBGC had originally reported, which means the agency can afford to cover the pensions fully. That’s without the Brown bill, GM stock sales or taxpayer money.
And to be sure, Black said testimony from a congressional hearing on the Delphi pensions confirmed the PBGC’s figure was wrong.
“It’s a well developed solution that completely unwinds this terrible experience,” Black said.
The retirees have had substantial support from Congress, with a number of senators and representatives voicing support and calling for hearings.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.