Rep. Kildee re-introduces bill to restore benefits for Delphi salaried retirees
SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - The fight for salaried retirees of the former Delphi Corp. continues on Capitol Hill.
On Thursday, Feb. 2, Congressman Dan Kildee re-introduced legislation to restore the pensions of approximately 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees who lost their benefits. Kildee was joined by Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10), Gwen Moore (WI-04) and Claudia Tenney (NY-24).
“I was forced to retire in 2008. Before being walked out, I was offered and signed an agreement to receive my full pension and earned benefits for life,” said Saginaw resident Al Gerwin.
Gerwin said he spent 41 years working for General Motors and Delphi Automotive. When GM filed for bankruptcy in 2009 during the Great Recession, the U.S. Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation cut retirement benefits for Delphi salaried retirees by as much as 70 percent in some cases. That move affected 20,000 people across the country, including 5,000 in Michigan.
“I lost 30 percent of my pension, all of my health and life insurance, and the value of my earned and unused vacation promised me during my release,” Gerwin said.
Last Congress, Kildee introduced the Susan Muffley Act, aimed at restoring those pensions.
“Restores the benefits. It provides a lump sum payment to those retirees for what they had lost over those years. Basically, makes them whole plus an interest calculation that goes with it,” Kildee said.
The legislation passed in the U.S. House of Representatives with strong support from both Republicans and Democrats. However, the bill wasn’t able to make it past the U.S. Senate. In the new Congress, Kildee says he’s committed to getting the legislation to President Joe Biden’s desk.
“If you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve to retire with dignity,” said Congressman Kildee. “Delphi salaried retirees lost their pensions through no fault of their own, and that’s not right.”
Kildee said these hardworking retirees suffered significant losses to their earned benefits, with devastating impacts on many of their lives. He said what happened to these retirees is a product of a federal government decision. He said the federal government owns the problem and he believes the federal government is responsible for fixing it.
“When GM was rescued by the federal government, these particular workers got left behind. That’s just wrong. It’s just plain wrong,” Kildee said.
It is a wrong that Gerwin said the federal government needs to make right.
“End of life is that much closer after our 13 plus year struggle for equal treatment. Many that I have worked with have already gone. I pray their families may someday receive the earned benefits that have been taken from all of them. It would be such a relief to have this terrible injustice corrected in my lifetime,” Gerwin said.
“We are grateful to Representatives Dan Kildee and Mike Turner and all those elected officials who stand up for fair and equitable treatment for all American workers,” said Bruce Gump, Chair of the Delphi Salaried Retiree Association. “If it passes, this bill will restore fairness and dignity in retirement. It will relieve the suffering of thousands of salaried and hourly workers who were left behind after GM filed for bankruptcy.”
Congressman Kildee’s legislation would restore the terminated pensions. This bill would make up the difference between the pension benefits earned by Delphi salaried retirees and what they received following the GM bankruptcy in 2009. Beneficiaries who have already begun receiving benefits will receive a lump sum payment of the difference between what was actually paid by PBGC and would have been paid without the limitations, plus 6% interest. To ease the tax burden, retirees may pay income taxes on this lump sum over three years. Moving forward, all beneficiaries will receive their full earned benefit.
The legislation must pass the U.S. House and Senate, and then be signed by President Joe Biden before it can become law.
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