A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill to restore the benefits of 20,000 retirees affected by Delphi's terminated pension plan, following similar legislation introduced in the House.
Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Mike Braun, R-Ind., led the introduction of the Susan Muffley Act Wednesday to restore the terminated pensions of Delphi salaried retirees, which include more than 5,000 retirees in Ohio, 4,000 in Indiana, and thousands of others across the country, according to a news release.
Reps. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., Mike Turner, R-Ohio, Gwen Moore, D-Wis., and Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., introduced a House version of the bill in February.
"After years of work by workers and retirees in Ohio and Michigan, it's past time to restore the full benefits of the Delphi Salaried Retirees," Mr. Brown said in the news release. "I'll keep working with members of both parties and the White House to get results for these retirees."
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. took over Delphi's pension plan in 2009, after the company spun off from General Motors and filed for bankruptcy. The company later emerged from bankruptcy as Delphi Automotive LLP without pension obligations. During a government bailout, GM agreed to "top up" pension benefits, restoring them to original levels for workers covered under three union agreements, but salaried and other employees had benefits reduced due to PBGC benefit caps.
The bill would restore the benefits earned by Delphi salaried retirees, meaning those who already began receiving benefits would receive a lump sum payment of the difference between what the PBGC paid and what would have been paid without restrictions, plus interest. Retirees could pay taxes on these payments over the course of three years, according to the press release, and all beneficiaries would receive their full benefits going forward.
The Delphi Salaried Retirees Association first filed a lawsuit against the PBGC in 2009, claiming the agency violated ERISA by terminating the plan. After losing in the lower courts, the DSRA eventually brought their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, though the high court declined to hear the case in January 2022.
The bill is named after the late Susan Muffley, who was part of DSRA's leadership and the wife of a Delphi electronics technician who had his benefits reduced in 2009.