WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that he will introduce legislation that would restore full pensions of Delphi retirees. Brown’s legislation, which he will formally introduce when the Senate reconvenes next week, would transfer certain proceeds from the sale of government stock of General Motors to a fund at the U.S. Treasury Department that would supplement payment to the Delphi retirees. The bill would not interfere with pending litigation regarding the Delphi pensions.
“Many Delphi retirees have yet to receive the pensions they earned and deserve,” Brown said. “Now that General Motors is profitable once again and the federal government is preparing to sell its stake in the company, a portion of the proceeds should be used for those shortchanged retirees.”
In 2009, Delphi’s bankruptcy cost approximately 19,000 hourly retirees and 20,000 salaried retirees their full pensions after the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) assumed Delphi’s pension plans. While three unions representing hourly Delphi retirees had reached contractual agreements with General Motors to ensure full pension protection – negotiated in 1999 and reaffirmed in 2007 – the remaining workers had not.
Brown has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of the retirees. He blocked the full Senate's confirmation of President Obama's nominee to the PBGC because of concerns about the administration of Delphi's terminated pension plans. As a result, the PBGC met several times with the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA). Brown also successfully fought for the extension of the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) for Delphi retirees through 2014. The HCTC is a significant tax rebate on health care coverage for qualified workers and retirees. While the DSRA is in active litigation with the PBGC, Brown is still maintaining pressure on the Obama Administration to ensure these pensions are restored and Delphi retirees receive the pensions they earned. Most recently, Brown pressed the Obama Administration to meet again with the DSRA and respond to a proposal to engage in mediation of the dispute.
Below is a timeline of Brown’s work to defend Delphi retirees.
- September 2009 –Brown and U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan (OH-17), Mike Turner (OH-3), and others introduce legislation to create a Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (VEBA) to provide health coverage to Delphi and union hourly workers.
- October 2009 –Brown invites representative of DSRA to testify before a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
- December 2009 –Brown testifies on behalf of Delphi retirees before House pensions committee.
- February 24, 2010 –Brown and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-17) lead congressional delegation letter calling on President Obama to restore pensions for DSRA.
- February 25, 2010 –Brown and U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-MI), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced the Protecting Employees and Retirees in Business Bankruptcies Act that would stop failing businesses from denying employees the wages they have earned and retirees the pensions they were promised. Companion legislation was introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14).
- May 2010 –Brown places a “hold” on President Obama’s nomination of Josh Gotbaum as Director of the the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), effectively blocking his confirmation. While Gotbaum received a recess appointment in July 2010, Brown’s actions encouraged Administration officials to meet with Delphi retirees
- December 20, 2010 –Brown strikes last-minute deal with Senate Republicans to extend vital Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) for Delphi retirees through the holiday season before passing long-term extension of HCTC in October 2011.
- May 2, 2011 –Brown leads letter to PBGC Director Gotbaum regarding distribution of pension benefits to Delphi retirees.
- October 2011 –Brown leads Senate passage of Trade Adjustment Assistance and HCTC extension, which provides 65 percent health coverage rebate for Delphi retirees who enroll in the program, through January 1, 2014.
- November 22, 2011 –Brown and Ryan send detailed questions to PBGC Director Gotbaum regarding PBGC liabilities and to seek a fair resolution.
- July 9, 2012 –Brown and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) send President Obama letter urging a review of DSRA settlement proposal.
- July 12, 2012 –Brown, Durbin, Franken, Harkin, U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduce the Protecting Employees and Retirees in Business Bankruptcies Act of 2012.
- August 20, 2012 –Brown joins U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and others in letter to PBGC Director Gotbaum on behalf of DSRA seeking PBGC meet again with DSRA to seek resolution.
- September 2012 –Brown announces new legislation to require certain proceeds from sale of government GM stock towards Delphi pensions.