Delphi retirees hopeful pensions will be restored after court ruling

The retired auto workers have been fighting for their pensions since 2008, when General Motors and Delphi went bankrupt

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – It’s been 10 years, but a group of retired auto workers is still fighting to get pensions back.

When General Motors went bankrupt in 2008, its spinoff — Delphi — ditched pensions for 21,000 salaried retirees. Those workers have been fighting for their retirements ever since.

Sixty-three documents — that’s all the retirees are waiting for to prove their pensions were wrongly canceled.

“We are trying to get the last of the documents we want in discovery and they are presidential privilege documents,” said Chuck Cunningham, with the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association. “That’s where we are today.”

The documents are being held on the basis that they are “presidential communications.”

“In order to get our documents from the treasury department, which we desperately needed, we had to take them into court in their venue,” Cunningham said.

A judge has ruled they are not protected and are essential to the retirees’ case.

The federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation took over the pensions during the bankruptcies of both GM and Delphi. Union retirees got full benefits, but salaried workers lost 30 or, in some cases, 70 percent of their pensions.

Cunningham said at the time, the move to cancel their pensions benefited the U.S. Treasury — and no one else.

“If the plan had gone to fruition, our plan would be overfunded right now.”

The government has until Friday to come up with a reason to keep the documents under wraps. Cunningham said he’s confident this judge will rule in the workers’ favor and their ultimate goal will be met.

“That we will be granted not only full pensions as if we had retired from Delphi, but also any back pay.”

Cunningham said the workers have won all the other legal battles surrounding the case.

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