Bill would restore full pensions to Delphi retirees

Staff report


After 31/2 years of finger- pointing and arguing, a bill has been introduced that would restore full pensions to Delphi retirees.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, both introduced bills that would transfer some proceeds from the sale of government stock in General Motors to the U.S. Treasury Department, which would then supplement payments to the former Delphi employees.

Although it’s good that a bill has been introduced in both houses of Congress, it would have been simpler and cheaper for Delphi salaried retirees to not be overlooked initially in the auto bailout, said Bruce Gump, a retired Delphi engineer in Warren and vice president of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association.

“The argument has moved beyond who did what and why. It has now gotten to how are we going to fix it, which is the right argument to have,” he said.

Thousands of retirees earned pensions they have yet to receive, Brown said.

“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,” he said. “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.”

The salaried workers at Delphi were victims of the financial crisis, Ryan said. The goal has been to find a fair and economically responsible solution.

“This bill deserves a ‘fast track’ to passage and support from both sides of the aisle,” he said. “I know the pain these families are going through.”

In 2009, Delphi’s bankruptcy cost approximately 19,000 hourly retirees and 20,000 salaried retirees their full pensions after the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. assumed Delphi’s pension plans.

Salaried retirees, including 1,500 in the Mahoning Valley, were left without health and life insurance and with pension cuts of 30 percent to 70 percent.

The proposed bill did not come soon enough for some retirees, Gump said.

“We just had one lose [a] home last week to fore- closure,” he said.

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