Momentum Building in Congress to Restore Our Pension Plan

     Updated Tuesday, 24 August 2021
August 23, 2021Response from The Treasury (obo The PBGC Board) — tells DSRA to "go ask Congress, not us" — 28 congressmen are told in a letter from the Treasury Department that "The Departments of Treasury, Labor and Commerce concluded that Congressional action would be required to restore these lost pension benefits. Therefore, we have not taken further steps on this issue."
July 20, 202128 Members of the U.S. House Representatives — 11 Democrats and 17 Republicans in whose congressional districts live a considerable number of Delphi salaried retirees — send a letter to the Secretaries of Commerce, Labor and Treasury — the trio from President Biden’s cabinet comprise the PBGC board of directors.  The letter is almost identical to the letter from eight U.S. senators sent on June 10.  The letter presses the Executive Branch of government to act on President Trump’s directive of last October.  It says in part, "We understand this review was due on January 20, 2021 – before you assumed your current roles … we ask you to provide us with an update on the status of the report.  Specifically, we ask you to inform us when work on this report commenced, when you expect this report to be completed, and when Congress can expect to receive a copy for review."
June 17, 2021U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (one of the three members of the PBGC board) responds to a question from U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), who asks her about working “for an equitable resolution for the Delphi salaried retirees, to get their earned pensions … I would ask that you work with us to try to address this.”  The Secretary replies as follows:  “I know that there was a very serious impact there, and the Delphi retirees haven’t been really helped by other benefits that have been passed (by Congress), for example for multi-employer plans ... so we would look forward to working with you in discussing what can be done.”  The exchange took place at a June 17 hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee. [video extract]
June 11, 2021 — In the latest example of growing bipartisan support for restoring our pension plan, Ohio's Governor Mike DeWine (R) writes to President Biden. Governor DeWine's letter points out that Delphi salaried retirees "are just looking for fairness ... at the time the salaried workers plan was terminated by the PBGC, it was fairly well funded -- in fact it was funded better than the average of the top 100 largest plans in America at that time. In the over 11 years since ther termination of the plan, the assets have been invested in the PBGC trust fund where they have appreciated greatly." DeWine goes on to write that "during your campaign for President, you acknowledged that what happened to the Delphi salaried retirees was not right and pledged to work on the issue of restoring their pensions."
June 10, 2021Eight of the ten U.S. senators from Ohio, New York, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin write to the Secretaries of Commerce, Labor and Treasury who comprise the PBGC board of directors and are members of President Biden’s Cabinet. The six Democrat and two Republican senators ask the Secretaries to inform the President "of any appropriate actions that may be taken to address the lost pension benefits, including potential legislation, and to bring additional transparency to the original decision to terminate the plan" — the Delphi salaried retirees pension plan. President Trump's October 22, 2020, Memorandum sought the same information, and the presidential directive remains in effect but has been seemingly ignored, so DSRA appealed to senators from states with the highest Delphi salaried retiree populations to inquire into the status. The senators' letter says in part that these retired “employees deserve the benefits they have earned … we stand ready to work with you to ensure the Delphi retirees … can be secure in the benefits they have earned.”
June 1, 2021Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan writes to President Biden, saying "Nearly 6,000 Michiganders ... have been fighting for more than a decade to receive their full pensions. As you pledged during your campaign, these salaried employees are simply looking for fairness and deserve to have their benefits reinstated ... to this end, I respectfully urge your Administration to work with [Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan] and explore every option available to you to resolve this unfairness and restore the benefits earned by these hardworking retirees." [Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's letter]
March 25, 2021 — Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) held a video dialog with the House Committee on Ways and Means specifically regarding the Protection of the Pensions of Delphi salaried retirees. Rep. Kildee said: “In my home state of Michigan we have almost 6,000 Delphi salaried retirees, many of whom are in my district. ... What’s happened to them, as you said, is an injustice and it’s long past time that we correct it ….” Rep. Ryan responded: "I know this is on the President's radar screen ... he said he ... wants to try to fix it … I know he's deeply concerned ... this has been a long, tough process but we're not giving up." [Rep. Ryan media release]
March 24, 2021 — Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) discloses in a news release that he's "had a private conversation" with President Biden earlier in the day "about the continued injustice that Delphi Salaried Retirees face ... I advocated that (they) should be made whole and urged him to have his Administration work with us to restore their earned benefits. President Biden was familiar with the situation and told me he wants to help. I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress and with the White House on this issue."
March 17, 2021 — WFMJ-TV airs this story after Congress (in a strict party line vote pushed by Democrats) includes $86 billion in the American Rescue Plan Act (the COVID-19 stimulus package) to help multi-employer pension plans that cover union workers. Sen. Brown is asked about the status of resolving our pension issue, and he tells the reporter, "I don't know what's next. I'm hopeful ... if we can get bipartisan support, we can get this through."
March 16, 2021 — Rep. Turner submits to the PBGC a FOIA records request regarding the PBGC's management of our pension plan.
March 12, 2021 — Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) writes a letter to the PBGC's Director Hartogensis, saying in part, "I am ... deeply troubled by the PBGC's apparent refusal to comply with former President Trump's lawful Presidential Memorandum (of Oct. 22, 2020) ... (that) ... directed a response about an important issue.
October 22, 2020 — President Trump issues a Presidential Memorandum ordering the Secretaries of Treasury, Commerce and Labor (together the Board of the PBGC) to review the Delphi Salaried Pension matter and inform him within 90 days of any appropriate action that may be taken to address the lost pension benefits, bring additional transparency to the PBGC's decision to terminate the plan, evaluate the feasibility of enacting legislation, and restore the plan in a manner consistent with Federal Law.
September 30, 2020 — U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) and 17 fellow House Members send a letter urging President Trump to intervene. They urge Trump to direct the secretaries of Labor, Treasury and Commerce to have the PBGC release info, negotiate in good faith, and settle the matter. They cite Federal Law that allows the PBGC to do so.
September 30, 2020 — While campaigning in Youngstown, Mr. Biden speaks to WFMJ-TV reporter Madison Tromler and references Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH): “People worked like hell for the pensions. My dad lost a pension when a company he worked for went out. It’s not right. What I am going to do is work with your senator to figure out how we can, in fact, bring in the (Delphi) salaried workers who are really hurt as badly. They deserve their pensions … these are hard-working folks. They worked years and years relying on this so they can retire … they deserve it.”