WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Senate Finance Committee holds its hearing to consider W. Thomas Reeder, Jr. to serve as Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged the agency to provide its final benefit determinations for Delphi salaried retirees.
“For years Delphi salaried retirees from Mahoning Valley to Miami Valley have been left without clear answers about the pensions and benefits that they earned through their hard work,” said Brown. “They were promised these benefits and now the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation owes these retirees answers. How can these retirees plan for their future and support their family if they don’t have a final answer about their benefits? As we consider Mr. Reeder’s confirmation to lead the PBGC, I hope he will consider the thousands of Ohioans that are counting on him to act as he has promised so they can received their earned benefits.”
When Delphi’s defined benefit pension plan was terminated, 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees lost up to 70 percent in benefits, including 5,000 Ohioans. Of the 5,000 Delphi salaried retirees and their families in Ohio, about 1,500 are in the Mahoning Valley, 2,000 are in the Dayton area, and a majority of the remaining 1,500 are in Columbus and Sandusky. Retirees still await a final determination regarding their benefits.
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). In July 2014, Brown wrote to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Thomas Perez urging him to accelerate the process and set a timetable for making the determination. PBGC is on schedule to meet its obligations, and Reeder has committed to issuing the final determinations on time.
As an advocate for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program and the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC), Brown has worked to make sure Delphi retirees have access to benefits. As the Senate considered legislation to give the President trade promotion authority (TPA), Brown worked to extend the TAA program, which includes the HCTC, and strengthen it by restoring funding levels and making it more inclusive. TAA and HCTC are now extended through 2019.
In November 2014, Brown successfully led a group of 14 senators in calling on the Senate Appropriations Committee to maintain funding for the TAA program so workers – like Delphi retirees – could continue to receive benefits through September 2015. In February 2011, Brown led 13 senators in urging House leadership to extend TAA. As one of the last acts before the 111th Congress adjourned, Brown secured a six-week extension of the TAA program, in addition to the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC).