Congressman Dan Kildee of Flint, has introduced the Susan Muffley Act, new bipartisan legislation to restore retirement benefits to over 20,000 Delphi Salaried Retirees.
When General Motors (GM) filed for bankruptcy during the Great Recession, the U.S. Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) cut retirement benefits by as much as 70% for more than 20,000 Delphi Salaried Retirees, including more than 5,000 retirees in Michigan.
The Susan Muffley Act would restore the terminated pensions, making up the difference between the pension benefits earned by Delphi Salaried Retirees and what they received following the GM bankruptcy in 2009. Beneficiaries who have already begun receiving benefits will receive a lump sum payment of the difference between what was actually paid by PBGC and would have been paid without the limitations, plus 6% interest. Incomes taxes on the lump sum payment could be made over three years, and beneficiaries would receive their full benefit amount afterward.
“If you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to retire with dignity,” said Congressman Kildee. “The government rescued GM but left these workers hanging. That’s why what happened to the Delphi Salaried Retirees is such an injustice. These hardworking retirees have waited too long to receive the benefits they earned, and I am proud to introduce legislation today to finally deliver.”
In September 2009, the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA) filed a lawsuit against the PBGC to restore their pension benefits. After losing decisions at lower courts, the DSRA petitioned to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Because the Supreme Court recently denied the request, congressional action is being taken.
The legislation is named after Susan Muffley who was part of the DSRA’s core leadership in the effort to restore their pensions. Her husband, David, worked at Delphi as an electronics technician for 31 years, but lost the full value of his pension in 2009. Despite health problems, Susan avoided seeing her doctor given her family’s financial constraints due to losing their pension. She was ultimately diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away on August 9, 2012.
“Michiganders who have worked hard their entire lives and played by the rules deserve the benefits they earned,” said Senator Gary Peters. “To deny workers the ability to retire with dignity after a committed career, is entirely unacceptable. I’m proud to support this legislation that will restore the benefits that thousands of Michiganders were promised.”
“We are grateful to Representatives Dan Kildee, Tim Ryan, Mike Turner, Marcy Kaptur and Bill Johnson, Debbie Dingell and Warren Davidson and also to Senators Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow, Gary Peters and Rob Portman and all those elected officials who stand up for fair and equitable treatment for all American workers. If it passes, this bill will restore fairness and dignity in retirement. It will relieve the suffering of thousands of salaried and hourly workers who were left behind after GM filed for bankruptcy. It will greatly help their families and their communities also. This is very important and necessary legislation. Thank you to all those who are working to help pass this bill,” said Bruce Gump, Chair of the Delphi Salaried Retiree Association.
There are over 20,000 affected Delphi retirees across the country, including:
New York: 2,337
North Carolina: 156
South Carolina: 147
Other States: 672