Friday, June 15, 2012

Who's against pension reform...?

... not these guys.


Pension reform is a big topic these days. Forces on both sides have lined up committed efforts to see their way through and contrary to popular belief, there is someone whom you previously didn't think that is also a big fan of pension reform.

This past Tuesday, we reported out on the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association finally getting the documents they requested so that they could move forward in their lawsuit against the federal government regarding what they felt was a shafting of non-union entities in the auto manufacturer bankruptcy cramdown (General Motors and Chrysler) back in 2009. It's a shame these rubes haven't read the writing on the wall, especially considering the election results in Wisconsin last Tuesday.

We reported some numbers, but there is a human element as well that is starting to get out regarding the impacts of these pension reforms.

The abused workers — most from hard-hit northeast Ohio, Michigan and neighboring states — had devoted decades of their lives as secretaries, technicians, engineers and sales employees at Delphi/GM. Some workers have watched up to 70 percent of their pensions vanish.

John Berent of Marblehead, Ohio, lost one-third of his pension: “I worked as a salaried employee for GM (30 years) and Delphi (10 years). After 40 years of dedicated service, I was forced to retire. Then Delphi terminated my health care, life insurance, vision, dental, then terminated the pension plan. Everything I worked 40 years for was wiped out.”

Kelly Fabrizio of Franksville, Wis., saw her pension reduced by 55 percent after working 30 years at Delphi/GM: “I am truly scared for my future. Every day I wake up, shake my head and say out loud — This Is Not How It Was Supposed To Be.”

Roger Hoke of Columbus, Mich., and his wife were both longtime Delphi workers. His pension shrunk by more than 40 percent: “After 33 years with GM and another 10 with Delphi, what did I do wrong to deserve such a fate?”

Paul Dobosz of the Delphi Salaried Retiree Association, which represents the pensioners and is suing the feds, recounts how they got screwed: The Auto Task Force hatched a plan to dump their pensions on the federally run Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which slashed their benefits. At the same time, the White House and Treasury officials devised “a clever way to make the UAW pensions whole using GM and TARP money to accomplish it. The scheme was documented in sworn depositions (that) revealed … that some groups of workers were more ‘politically sensitive’ and would be afforded special treatment (i.e. subsidy using TARP money) while others less politically worthy would be left out.” The PBGC, which had the fiduciary duty to represent the best interests of all the Delphi workers, helped sacrifice the non-union employees at the UAW altar.

The next time some fevered right-winger tries to tell you the Obama administration is against pension reform, please direct them to this case as if this doesn't represent the height of bold and leading edge reforming, then we don't know what winning the future is all about or something.

1 comment:

SarahB said...

Most of the pension reform I've seen (including the sort that will be impacting my household soon) is contribution oriented for exisiting employees and smaller benefits for NEW employees. Haven't seen anyone besides the fed do slash existing pensions in this brutal manner. Blood bath for sure.