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DSRA contesting GM-UAW deal

DSRA contesting GM-UAW deal

By Ken de la Bastide
For the Pharos-Tribune

July 10, 2009 09:49 pm

The Delphi Salaried Retirees Association contends a special deal between the United Auto Workers and General Motors Corp. will ensure that hourly workers will be made a part of the reformed company’s retirement plan.
The DSRA has been fighting for several months to prevent Delphi Corp., once a subsidiary of GM, from transferring salaried employees’ retirement benefits to the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. The retirees want GM to provide their pensions in the future.
Approximately 15,000 Delphi salaried retirees have lost their health and life insurance benefits. They estimate receiving 70 percent of their pensions if they’re moved to the PBGC.
The current Delphi plan with GM will allow UAW retirees to maintain 100 percent of their health, life insurance and pension benefits, according to the DSRA.
The DSRA contends a special deal will provide many of Delphi’s UAW retirees with 100 percent of their pension benefits, although salaried retirees don’t qualify. The contention is that UAW workers with 26 years of employment would be eligible for full GM retirement benefits once they reach the 30-year mark.
Delphi is planning to turn the salaried pension plan over to the PBGC on July 23, while the UAW hourly pension plan rolls over to GM.
“It appears to be the UAW against everyone else,” interim DSRA chairman Den Black said Friday. “The International Union of Electrical Workers, which represents workers at several plants, are also getting shut out.”
He said the IUE members now are losing their health insurance coverage.
“There are two sides to the fight, political and litigation,” Black said. “We are gaining immense momentum on the political side. Forty members of Congress are asking the U.S. Treasury to explain the gross differences in the treatment between the two groups.”
Black said Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., is asking all 535 members of Congress to sign a letter to conduct hearings that compel the Treasury Department to explain the differences.
“[Treasury Department officials] would be required to testify and share documents explaining the use of tax dollars in the unfair treatment of the Delphi retirees,” he said.
Black said the DSRA is working to file several objections with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York concerning the move of pensions to the PBGC.
“The special deal was not news to me,” he said, “but it was not very well known. The UAW members are being allowed to ‘grow into retirement’ and not be required to work 30 years.
“This is an unbelievable situation,” Black said, “while salaried retirees are fighting to save their pensions.”
Black said many of the Delphi salaried retirees started their careers with GM, and their pensions remained with Delphi when the company separated from GM and became a standalone company.
GM is seeking to purchase four Delphi Corp. plants, including the facilities in Kokomo, as it emerges from bankruptcy.
• Ken de la Bastide is enterprise editor for the Kokomo Tribune.

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