A House hearing on the federal government’s auto bailout and how it affected 20,000 salaried Delphi employees was held on Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, told members of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations if an on-going lawsuit proves politics played a role in denying certain Delphi retirees their pensions that those people “need to be made whole.”
Lawmakers are holding hearings to try and determine the methods used to ensure current and former employees of the auto parts manufacturer received their benefits after GM and Delphi emerged from bankruptcy several years ago.
A number of Delphi retirees are suing, claiming the Treasury Department used politics to determine which retirees would keep their pensions while others were left out.
In August a government inspector general said President Barack Obama’s administration played a key role in the General Motors bankruptcy in 2009 as pensions were cut for salaried Delphi Corp. retirees but not unionized workers and retirees of the supplier.
The report stopped short of saying the administration’s role was right or wrong. It made no recommendations.
About 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees – nearly half in Ohio – saw their pensions cut by as much as 70 percent during GM’s bankruptcy.
The report says administration officials indicated they acted quickly to avoid GM’s failure.
The Treasury Department, which oversaw the president’s auto task force, took issue with the IG report. Assistant Treasury Secretary Timothy Massad said the pension decision was made by GM and was “driven by sound commercial reasons.”
Den Black with the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association said the report made clear something salaried retirees had long suspected. “The administration and the Treasury and the Auto Task Force were clearly the drivers relative to the decisions made as the 40-day GM bankruptcy played out,” he said.