CONGRESSMAN TIM RYAN AND OHIO LAWMAKERS CALL ON LABOR SECRETARY TO EXPEDITE DECISION ON PENSIONS OF DELPHI SALARIED RETIREES

Jul 15, 2014 Issues: Helping Working Families, Manufacturing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), and Tim Ryan (OH-13) urged the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to take immediate actions that would expedite a ruling on the pensions of Delphi Salaried Retirees. In their letter to DOL Secretary Thomas Perez, the lawmakers called for the Secretary to intervene and ensure that the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) makes its final determination as soon as possible. Joining the Ohio lawmakers on their letter were U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

“The 20,000 members of the salaried plan have been waiting for almost five years for a final benefit determination from the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC),” the lawmakers wrote. “Recent comments from the PBGC have suggested that the agency has yet to take basic initial steps towards making such a determination. This delay is unsatisfactory and deeply troubling – contradicting the PBGC’s policy to reach a final determination within 3 years of a plan’s termination…Accordingly, we ask that your office intercede in this matter and compel the PBGC to act.”

Specifically, the lawmakers called for Secretary Perez to:

  • Intercede and ensure the PBGC accelerates its process for making a final determination; 
  • Respond to this request within a month; and
  • Provide their offices and the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA) with monthly updates on the PBGC’s progress toward reaching its goals.

The lawmakers’ letter to Secretary Perez can be read in its entirety below:

Thomas E. Perez
Secretary of Labor
Unites State Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Secretary Perez:

We are writing to request your prompt intervention on behalf of the Delphi Retirement Program for Salaried Retirees. The 20,000 members of the salaried plan have been waiting for almost five years for a final benefit determination from the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC). Recent comments from the PBGC have suggested that the agency has yet to take basic initial steps towards making such a determination.

This delay is unsatisfactory and deeply troubling – contradicting the PBGC’s policy to reach a final determination within 3 years of a plan’s termination.

It is for these reasons, Mr. Secretary, that we ask you to intervene and compel the PBGC to provide a clear timetable for reaching a final determination by the end of this year. In doing so, we request that you work with the PBGC to ensure that they are able to punctually reach each milestone in the timetable.

The case of the Delphi Salaried Retirees is particularly unique, as their pensions were terminated during the rescue of the auto industry. These workers’ pensions were accumulated over a lifetime of work and yet many found their pensions cut by the PBGC. Now, five years later, these workers are forced to continue to live in limbo, denied any certainty or due process in confirming or challenging the cuts to their earned benefits.

The PBGC’s response to date has been unacceptable. Two years after exceeding their own deadline for reaching a final determination, the PBGC has failed to undertake a prompt effort to create the necessary documentation to reach that determination.

Accordingly, we ask that your office intercede in this matter and compel the PBGC to act. Our understanding is that PBGC currently has suggested that a final determination will be made by 2016. This places an unreasonable burden on the salaried retirees and must be accelerated. We request to receive within one month of receipt of this letter a timeline for completing a final determination. We also ask that you provide our offices and the representatives of the affected individuals, the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA), with a monthly update on PBGC’s progress towards reaching the milestones outlined in the timeline.