U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) joined a bipartisan group of 19 members of the Ohio delegation asking the President to review the ongoing situation involving the receipt of reduced pension benefits by salaried retirees of Delphi Corporation.
A recent Special Inspector General of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (SIGTARP) audit entitled, "Treasury's Role in the Decision for GM to Provide Pension Payments to Delphi Employees," indicates that the Administration played a significant role in negotiations during General Motors' bankruptcy -- a role which several senior Administration officials previously denied. The bipartisan, bicameral letter asks the President to reconsider the issue, given that the SIGTARP audit uncovered new facts and information.
Specifically, the letter requests that the President review the situation again, since this new information was not available when he was first briefed on the issue in August 2009.
"Until the thousands of families across Ohio who did not receive the benefits they were promised receive at least the decency of an answer as to why other retirees from the same company received far better treatment, I will not stop pressing for answers regarding the unfair treatment of Delphi retirees," Portman said.
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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. Since his election in 2010, Portman has been a strong advocate for the Delphi retirees.
Most recently, in June 2013, Portman 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 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 in June 2013 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.