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Senator promises UAW to keep pension plans intact

June 15, 2010

Senator promises UAW to keep pension plans intact


Detroit — U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin promised delegates of the United Auto Workers convention today that he would help stop the erosion of pension plans.

The Detroit automakers have kept their pension plans intact, while the auto supplier Delphi Automotive LLC terminated its hourly and salaried pension plans when it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009. The Delphi Salaried Retirees Association has questioned whether the ending of the white-collar plan was justified, pointing to an actuarial study indicating that plan was 81.7 percent funded and better financed than other plans that weren’t terminated.

Harkin, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, told a story about being stopped once by a United Airlines employee who said his pension had been stripped, but top executives cut deals to pad their retirement compensation. He said such abuses need to be corrected.

Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa, also said a National Labor Relations Board with more Democratic appointees will more vigorously enforce workers’ rights.

The Iowa senator opposes enacting any more free trade agreements like those proposed with South Korea and other nations.

"No more free trade without fair trade," he said.

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