For Delphi salaried retirees, it’s Senate passage or bust

After 13 years of battling for their full pensions, retired managers and engineers from defunct auto parts producer Delphi face an exacting deadline: If they don’t achieve Senate passage of crucial legislation by the end of this two-year Congress, then the House’s recent passage of that bill will have been futile.

The House’s July 27 passage of the Susan Muffley Act, restoring the full pensions of Delphi salaried retirees, was just the first step in winning back their full pensions, advocates said at a Sinclair Community College rally Wednesday.

The bill has bipartisan support, including the backing of President Joe Biden and both of Ohio’s senators. But if the Senate doesn’t act, that work will have been for naught, said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner.

Without a positive Senate vote, “Then this (House passage) doesn’t matter,” Turner, R-Dayton, told rallying Delphi retirees at Sinclair. “It’s like an Etch-a-Sketch.”

“We have one hurdle remaining,” said Tom Rose, a Delphi retired manager who lives in Washington Twp.

This bill restores pensions that had been terminated following General Motors’ bankruptcy in 2009. Turner introduced the bipartisan legislation in March 2022 with fellow Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Mich. Advocates have made a point of noting that members of both parties have backed the bill.

The bill requires the U.S. Treasury to make up the difference between the partial pensions paid by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. — the government-based insurer of last resort for private retirement plans — and what salaried Delphi retirees understood they were always owed, plus interest.

Salaried retirees saw their pensions diminished greatly when the PBGC assumed control of the pensions in 2009, reduced by up to 70% in some cases, all while GM continued to support the pensions of hourly, union-represented Delphi workers.

“When you’re in the right, you don’t back down,” Delphi salaried retiree and Washington Twp. resident Mary Miller said at the rally. “We never have — and we won’t.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimated in July that passage of the bill would require $750 million in new outlays from this year to 2027. Turner, however, believes the final number depends on a PBGC analysis, but he said, ultimately the bill‘s cost will be “offset” by the movement of other funds.

“This bill is paid for,” he said.

It’s not the first time Sinclair has hosted a gathering of Delphi salaried retirees. In 2013, the college hosted a field hearing by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee examining their situation.

Once a large Dayton-area employer owned by General Motors, Delphi is now known as Aptiv PLC, an auto technology company based in Ireland.

Susan Muffley was a Delphi retiree who lived in Russiaville, Ind. She died in 2012 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, according to the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association.

About the Author