The Delphi Salaried Retirees Association is staying optimistic in its efforts to fully restore members’ pensions now that President Donald Trump is aware of their plight.
In 2009, retired salary workers at Delphi witnessed their pensions get decimated alongside health and life insurance plans after the company gave control to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. The pensions of retirees who were in unions were left untouched, however. Now, thanks to a governor and congressman, the issue is in front of Pres. Trump, and the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA) is hopeful that the president will intervene.
According to a press release from Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10), he and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine spoke to Pres. Trump about the pensions of Delphi retirees.
“This week, I again spoke to Pres. Trump about the Delphi Salaried Retirees’ fight for their pensions,” Turner said. “Pres. Trump now understands that the Obama Administration unjustly terminated these pensions. He is now considering intervening on behalf of the retirees in this over decade-long fight. I will continue to advocate for these retirees, as I have since 2009 when the Obama Administration wrongly took the pensions they had worked for and earned.”
Dave Sedam, an active member of the DSRA, hired into the Kokomo Delphi plant in 1973 and retired in 2005 as a manufacturing technology team leader. In 2009, he saw his pension nearly halved and his benefits removed completely. He wasn’t a member of the UAW while employed at Delphi and felt shafted by the fact that retirees represented by unions were able to keep their pensions.
“How can you have a company, that you have two different working classes, how can you pick winners and losers?” Sedam said. “We all worked under the same roof. We all did the same thing. We all had a goal to build product, but how can you say, ‘You can have yours, but you can’t.’ Our point is not only that, but we felt like there was some discrimination.”
Now, knowing that Pres. Trump is aware of the issue, Sedam and the DSRA are “focused on keeping it out there.”
“Next step is we need to try to keep focusing,” Sedam said. “We want to try and keep it focused and keep it out there and keep (representatives) on it. Now, the president understands. He understand the economic impact it had. And we’re trying to keep it across the country, anywhere that had a Delphi plant. We believe if he does intervene, and we hope he does because he understands now, they said they have to go through some legal avenues and look through some things. With him intervening, he could write an executive order. That would be an executive order to the PBGC to tell them, ‘You got money in there.’”
In 2009, Sedam joined the other 20,160 members who formed the DSRA and entered an ongoing legal battle with the U.S. Treasury Department to return their lost pensions. The case began with Delphi retirees who alleged that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation mishandled their pension plans. Individually, the pensions that were lost can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars for the retirees. Although Sedam said that they’ll “never see their healthcare and life insurance,” he hopes that, if his pension is fully restored, he’ll be able to do the things he planned on doing when he retired.
“Eleven years, it’s a long time,” Sedam said. “When I retired in 2005, I got my pension, and it was looking good. You have all these plans, and you look to the future. That’s what we did. I wanted to be able to take my wife and go on some trips and be able to help the kids. I had a son in college and help him with student loans. Those are things that you work for all your life, and you look forward to that and it not being disrupted. But you didn’t think that was ever going to happen. Then it happens, and it pulls a rug out from under you. Everything that I wanted to help with, my son’s remaining college payments, the trips, that all went away.”