WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-17) today introduced legislation that would restore the full pensions of Delphi retirees. The bill 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.
“Thousands of retirees in Ohio dedicated their careers to working for Delphi and General Motors, but many of these retirees have yet to receive the pensions they earned and deserve,” Brown said. “Solutions to restore these pensions are long overdue. It’s time to put politics aside on this issue. Instead of assigning blame for the problem, we should be working together to advance all solutions that may help restore pensions to Delphi retirees. Using proceeds from sale of government’s stake in GM is one of many parallel avenues I’ve been pursuing on behalf of Delphi retirees.”
“Delphi’s salaried employees were innocent victims of the financial crisis, and I have been working to find a solution for them that is fair and economically responsible,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “The legislation that we are introducing today will provide the pension relief for Delphi salaried retirees and others not covered under previous agreements. Both Senator Brown and I have supported this effort and believe that the time for a resolution of this problem is right now. This bill deserves a ‘fast track’ to passage and support from both sides of the aisle. I know the pain these families are going through, and I call on Speaker Boehner to bring this bill up immediately and to put the full weight of his Speakership behind it.”
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 since the restructuring of General Motors in 2009. 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. Brown and Ryan have also been supportive of the efforts of salaried retirees seeking a proposed settlement, and have been working to request that the Obama Administration give that proposal consideration. The bill would not interfere with pending litigation regarding the Delphi pensions, and the legislation is one proposal to ensure that Delphi retirees are fairly compensated.
Below is a timeline of Brown and Ryan’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.