For more than three years now, some 22,000 salaried retirees of Dephi Corp., including about 1,500 in the Mahoning Valley, have fought aggressively to plead their plight to the nation. For more than three years now, those pleas and protestations have fallen on deaf ears where it counts most – the highest echelons of the federal government.
At long last, however, thanks to the efforts of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, the retirees’ legitimate wishes for fair play may be granted. Brown and Ryan introduced this month legislation to restore the full pensions of Delphi retirees. Their bills call for using proceeds from the sale of General Motors Co. stock held by the federal government to establish a fund to provide the deserved payments and to make the salaried retirees’ pensions whole.
It’s simply a matter of fairness to ensure all retirees are treated equally. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. took over the plans when GM and Delphi went bankrupt. Since then, the PBGC has restored the full pensions and benefits of unionized GM and Delphi workers. But it threw only a few crumbs the way of the Delphi salaried retirees. In fact, many of the retirees have suffered cuts of up to 70 percent of their promised pensions.
Full restoration of those pensions is also simply a matter of community fairness. A YSU Center for Urban and Regional Studies investigation found that the economic impact of the stingy payouts on Mahoning and Trumbull counties hovers near $60 million annually. That’s $60 million that could work to help reinvigorate nearly every cog of the Mahoning Valley economy.
Members of the community can show their support for the retirees by lobbying for passage of the legislation and by signing an online petition that will be sent to the Obama administration. Go to www.delphipetition.com to enlist your support.