Brown Introduces Bill to Restore Delphi Salaried Retirees’ Benefits

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and other lawmakers on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation to restore retirement benefits to more than 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees.

The Susan Muffley Act would restore benefits that were cut when General Motors filed for bankruptcy in 2009. When the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. took over the pension plan, retiree benefits were cut by up to 70%, affecting more than 5,000 retirees in Ohio.

“After years of work by workers and retirees in Ohio and Michigan, it’s past time to restore the full benefits of the Delphi salaried retirees,” Brown, D-Ohio, said in a news release. “I’ll keep working with members of both parties and the White House to get results for these retirees.”

The legislation would make up the difference between the pension benefits earned by Delphi retirees and what they received after GM’s bankruptcy. Beneficiaries who have already begun receiving benefits would receive a lump sum payment of the difference between the amount paid by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. and the amount that would have been paid without the limitations, plus interest. Retirees would be able to pay income taxes on the lump sum over three years to ease the tax burden. All beneficiaries would receive their full earned benefit amount moving forward.

“Over 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees, including 4,000 Hoosiers, lost their retirement benefits at no fault of their own,” said Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., who also introduced the legislation. “This bipartisan legislation is a long overdue effort that would restore pensions rightfully earned by these American workers.” 

The legislation is named after Susan Muffley, who was part of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association’s core leadership in the effort to restore their pensions. Muffley’s husband, who worked as an electronics technician at Delphi for 31 years, was one of the retirees who lost the full value of his pension in 2009. Muffley avoided seeing her doctor because of the family’s financial problems and later was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, from which she died in 2012. 

In addition to Brown and Braun, the legislation was also introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin; Todd Young, R-Indiana; Bob Casey, D-Pa., and John Fetterman, D-Pa. U.S. Reps. Dan Kildee of Michigan, D-6th, and Mike Turner of Ohio, R-10th, introduced the legislation in the U.S. House.

The Delphi retirees have been fighting to restore their benefits for more than a decade. In September 2009, the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association filed a lawsuit against the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. to restore pension benefits. After losing decisions at lower courts, the DSRA petitioned to take its case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case in January 2022.

There are more than 20,000 affected Delphi retirees across the country, including:

  • Michigan: 5,859.
  • Ohio: 5,181.
  • Indiana: 4,044.
  • New York: 2,337.
  • Florida: 801.
  • Texas: 564.
  • Alabama: 564.
  • Wisconsin: 405.
  • Mississippi: 387.
  • Arizona: 198.
  • North Carolina: 156.
  • Tennessee: 156.
  • California: 153.
  • South Carolina: 147.
  • Georgia: 141.
  • Pennsylvania: 117.
  • Other States: 672.

Pictured at top: A sign is seen at Delphi’s headquarters in Troy, Michigan, in this Aug. 8, 2005, file photo. (AP Photo | Paul Sancya)

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.