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US reps to pitch fix to Delphi pensions

Lawmakers supportive of the effort to restore the lost retirement benefits of thousands of Delphi salaried retirees will today unveil bipartisan legislation to accomplish that goal.

U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, Dayton Republican Mike Turner and Democrat Dan Kildee, the chief deputy whip of the House Democratic Caucus who represents the Flint, Mich., area will hold a virtual press conference at 9 a.m. to discuss the legislative fix.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is expected to participate as well.

The congressmen will be joined by Bruce Gump of Howland, chairman of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association, and Ron Beeber, association spokesman.

Like the Mahoning Valley, the Dayton and Flint areas contain a large number of salaried retirees who have fought for more than 12 years now to restore the pensions, some of which were slashed by as much as 70 percent when the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) assumed responsibility for them.

The association in 2009 sued the PBGC and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court, but the court in January declined to hear their appeal.

The PBGC took responsibility for the pensions after Delphi, which at one time was part of General Motors’ parts division, emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

GM continued contributing to union-represented retirees, but salaried retirees were left with substantially reduced pensions. About 1,500 local salaried retirees and 20,000 across the U.S. were affected.

Last year, the Biden administration determined that congressional action would be needed to restore the lost pensions after a review of the terminated plans was put into motion by former President Donald Trump.

Trump before he lost re-election directed his secretaries of Treasury, Labor and Commerce to come up with recommendations to fix the reduced benefits. When the new administration came on, the deadline on Trump’s order had passed, and lawmakers, including Ryan, Brown and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, circled back to the White House for answers.

Ryan, in October when discussing with this newspaper the possibility of legislation to restore the benefits, said, “We’re trying to have some legislative fix that can put money back into these people’s pockets and make them whole. … We’re always looking for ways to help the Delphi salaried folks, and this is just another way.”

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