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Brown will seek funds for Delphi retirees

Published: Fri, September 7, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick



U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said he will introduce legislation next week to transfer money from the sale of government stock in General Motors Corp. to supplement retirement benefits lost by Delphi salaried retirees.

“Many Delphi retirees have yet to receive the pensions they earned and deserve,” said Brown, a Democrat from Avon, in a Thursday announcement. “Now that General Motors is profitable once again and the federal government is preparing to sell its stake in the company, a portion of the proceeds should be used for those shortchanged retirees.”

The 2009 Delphi bankruptcy left about 21,000 of the company’s salaried retirees, including 1,500 in the Mahoning Valley, without health and life insurance and with pension cuts of 30 percent to 70 percent.

Though the Delphi salaried retirees had benefits eliminated and pensions cut, Delphi hourly retirees who were members of the United Auto Workers were fully covered by GM, which received a bailout from the federal government in 2009.

President Barack Obama’s administration has said the U.S. Treasury Department didn’t make the decision to cut the salaried retirees’ benefits.

But emails obtained by The Daily Caller, a conservative website, and published last month show the Treasury was involved in the decision. The administration still insists it did nothing wrong, and the Delphi salaried retirees weren’t treated differently from others who worked for corporations that went through bankruptcy.

After the Delphi bankruptcy, salaried retirees had their pensions handled by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which cut the benefits.

Brown said he’s been an advocate for the retirees and will continue to pressure the Obama administration to ensure the pensions are restored.

Bruce Gump, a retired Delphi engineer in Warren and vice president of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association, said, “This needs to be corrected, and Sen. Brown is offering a solution to correct it. This is a way to correct it. This sounds like something a senator is supposed to do.”

Also, about 300 Delphi salaried retirees in Ohio and Michigan had a rally Thursday in Dayton to raise awareness of what happened to them.

Meanwhile, a group of Delphi salaried retirees is collecting signatures online — at delphipetition.com — to show the Obama administration that there is support for restoring their full benefits.

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