Thousands of Delphi retirees have taken a step closer to restoring their pensions under a federal bill that has now been approved by the US House of Representatives.
House members approved the bill Wednesday in a vote of 245 to 175. The bill would cover many former employees of Delphi’s Lockport plant who lost their retirement benefits.
Under the bill, eligible Delphi retirees would receive full benefits through the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), which assumed responsibility for the payment of Delphi’s retirement benefits after the company went bankrupt. . Already retired workers and beneficiaries would also receive a lump sum payment equal to the difference between what they received following the 2009 bankruptcy and the full benefits due to them, plus 6% interest.
The bill must now be considered by the Senate, which has introduced a similar bipartisan bill.
While it’s unclear whether the bill will ultimately be approved by the U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, said he sees the House vote as a significant step forward in this which has been a long battle to secure benefits for Delphi workers.
“These Delphi employees worked hard and dedicated themselves to the company only to have the retirement benefits they earned stolen from them,” said Higgins, co-sponsor of the bill. “A retirement that should have been comfortable and secure has been a frightening financial nightmare for these workers. This long overdue action reverses this inequity and allows many Delphi retirees and their families to regain their integrity. »
In 2009, Delphi’s employee retirement plan, which covered more than 20,000 Delphi employees nationwide, including more than 2,300 people in New York City, was terminated following bankruptcy proceedings. As a result, pension benefits have been reduced by up to 70% for these employees.
Higgins has been fighting for Delphi retirees for years, opposing Delphi’s mistreatment of retirees during bankruptcy, joining a bipartisan campaign for benefits, advocating for the protection of workers’ pensions on committee and, more recently, sending a bipartisan letter to Labor and the Treasury. Secretaries.
The legislation, titled the Susan Muffley Act of 2022, is named after the wife of David Muffley, a Delphi employee of over 30 years who lost the full value of his pension. Susan delayed healthcare due to financial constraints and died of cancer in 2012.