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Another year passes by while Delphi retirees wait for justice

Published: Wed, February 20, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

A year ago yesterday, we ran an editorial calling on former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, then the executive director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, to right a wrong that had been set in motion three years earlier.

Williams is no longer the “auto czar.” He moved on to a job as deputy director in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. But the injustice we were writing about still exists, that is the short-changing of one employee group in the 2009 bankruptcy of General Motors.

Some won, some lost

The restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler saved the American automobile industry from disaster and saved tens of thousands of jobs. The Obama administration also preserved the pension, ancillary pensions and health benefits of tens of thousands of members of the UAW, the IUE and even the USW.

Workers left conspicuously out in the cold were the salaried employees of Delphi, who numbered about 21,000. Many lost 50 to 70 percent of their expected pensions and their health coverage. Among those were Delphi workers who had been employed at the Packard Electric Division of General Motors, which had been headquartered in Warren before the Delphi spin-off.

The benefits of those workers may be gone, but their plight has not been forgotten. It can only be hoped that now — four years after they were treated as second-class citizens in the restructuring, they will be treated with equity.

Two recent developments toward that end are worth mentioning.

Last week, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, took the opportunity to submit some pointed questions about how the Delphi salaried retirees were treated to the Senate Finance Committee which is considering the nomination of Jacob Lew to serve as Treasury Secretary. He suggested that Lew be asked if the Treasury Department received any communication, direction, or other influence from the White House on Delphi pensions. He also asked if any official at the Treasury Department communicated with GM to influence the company toward supporting Delphi hourly pensions, or against supporting salaried pensions. And finally he asked if the Treasury Department intends to fully comply with requests from the House Ways and Means Committee for records related to the Delphi employees.

Bipartisan support

While it is true that Portman is a Republican questioning the action of a Democratic administration, the plight of the Delphi salaried retirees is a bipartisan concern, as it should be.

Just a week earlier, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, a Dayton Republican, and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, Niles Democrat, announced that they would co-chair the Auto Industry Pension Task Force for the 113th Congress. It is an informal group of members focused on issues related to the termination of Delphi salaried retiree pensions and on educating other congressmen on the subject.

“The Delphi salaried retirees for too long have been denied the answers and resolution to the issue of their pensions being unjustly slashed,” Turner said. Ryan said the goal of the task force “will be to build a coalition of members that will help us ensure that the Delphi retirees can continue their retirement knowing that they will have the benefits promised to them while they were working.”

As we said at this time last year, action is long overdue. It is an issue of obvious interest to the retirees, but the Mahoning Valley has an economic interest as well. Restoring full pension benefits to the Delphi retirees would infuse an estimated $58 million in lost economic activity to the area.

Success in addressing the Delphi inequities by Ryan, Turner, Portman, Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and the entire Ohio delegation would provide justice for the retirees and a boost to the state’s economy.


1rdl50(22 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

As I stated the last time this was brought up. Salary people do not get the same benefits as hourly. Everyone took a cut in pensions. I did not work at Delphi I worked in a steel mill we also lost out on pensions.

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2busyman(239 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

I guess you idiots do not undstand that they are waiting you out. By now most of you are turning 62 and filing for SS. That is what they want you to do. At that time the suppliment pension falls off, I know because I am a GM Salary retire. So you pension has been cut by 40 percent after being taking over by the Pension Guarantee. That if you had one. They will never reinstate your pension. The need all this new money to pay the UAW bonuses. Stop buying GM products. You have no allegiance to them anymore. They have tossed all of their Salary workers out in the cold. For those that do not know. The have sold all GM Salary pensions to Prudential Insurance. They have cut the ties, now it is time for you and all your family members to stop buying GM.

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3classics(53 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

rd150, why would our government give tax payer money to one group over another because they belonged to a union? This is merely taking care of your political base. The steel mills did not have government intervention with infusion of tax dollars. When they stepped in, it should have been fair and TRANSPARENT. Government Motors can keep their cars until they decide to be an honorable company.

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4redeye1(5543 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Hey Guys i just looked out my window . NO, the devil isn't ice skating yet ! So you are out of luck. As far as Little Timmy 's task force, the joke's on you. Get a life and get over it !

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5papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

the salaried retirees lost all hope when romney lost the election. give it up gump and get on with your life.

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6JustSaySo(1 comment)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Nobody is giving up or moving on. Would you if you were robbed? Unions should not have any more rights as US citizens than anyone else. It's great the union folks got their pensions, health care and life insurance. But why should the salaried folks lose 100% of their health care and 100% of life insurance, and 40% to 70% of their EARNED pensions? The government cannot pick one group of people over another. Sure companies like GM or Delphi can treat people differently, but not the US government where everybody has the same rights & privileges under the law. The law was clearly broken here, but no one in government seems to care. The government continues to hide documents. I wonder why?

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