U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), former director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), today sent a letter to the Honorable Jack Lew, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, requesting an update on the Treasury Department's review of why more than 20,000 Delphi salaried families -- including thousands of Ohio families - unfairly lost their pensions during the General Motors (GM) bankruptcy while other workers at the same company received their full pensions and benefits package.
In the letter, Portman thanks Lew for arranging a meeting between the leadership of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA) in Washington last month. He is hopeful that this meeting will bring the families one step closer to getting the answers they need, stating, "I understand the meeting allowed a frank and constructive dialogue, and I want to ensure that such momentum continues to bring forth answers for these impacted families in Dayton, Youngstown and across the country."
Since Delphi's defined benefit pension plan was terminated, Delphi workers have lost as much as 70 percent of their earned pension benefits. The Auto Policy Task Force subsequently decided to "top-up" the pension benefits of union retirees, but not those of the 20,000 salaried retirees. An economic impact study by Youngstown State University found that decreased retiree income and benefits will cost the Dayton area about $80 million per year and the Youngstown area about $58 million per year in lost economic activity.
In May 2013, Portman joined Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH-10) in sending a bicameral, bipartisan letter to the Chairmen of the Senate and House Oversight Committees urging them to continue their Committees' examinations of matters pertaining to the unjust termination of Delphi salaried retiree pensions. This push resulted in a special Congressional hearing in Dayton last week to explore these issues.
In March 2013, Portman and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called on the Obama Administration to meet with Delphi salaried retirees and to pursue efforts that would restore the retirees' pensions and benefits. In a letter to U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, the senators urged Lew to review the proposal submitted by the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA) last summer and to pursue other solutions to ensure retirees' receive the benefits they have earned that were lost through the bankruptcy of General Motors.
In February 2013, Portman submitted questions for the Congressional Record for the Senate Finance Committee hearing considering the nomination of Jacob Lew to serve as Treasury Secretary regarding the treatment of retired Delphi salaried workers during the General Motors bankruptcy.
The full text of the letter is below. Read a signed copy here.
June 20, 2013
The Honorable Jacob J. Lew
Secretary of the Treasury
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
Dear Secretary Lew,
Thank you for arranging for senior Treasury Department officials to meet with the leadership of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA) in Washington last month. I know that the DSRA leadership appreciated the opportunity to meet with your colleagues to personally discuss the challenges that they are facing following the General Motors bankruptcy and subsequent termination of their pensions in 2009. As you and I have discussed previously, the more than 20,000 Delphi salaried families -- including thousands of Ohio families -- impacted by this drastic reduction in promised benefits are struggling to pay bills and make ends meet, while many of their fellow Delphi workers received their full benefits package.
Given last month's meeting and recent comments from DSRA officials, I wish to request an update on the Department's review of this matter and to ensure that the Department is continuing to analyze the issues raised during the May 10 meeting. I understand the meeting allowed a frank and constructive dialogue, and I want to ensure that such momentum continues to bring forth answers for these impacted families in Dayton, Youngstown and across the country.
Thank you for your continued attention to this important matter.