WARREN - Former Delphi salaried employees who claimed the Obama administration failed to represent them in obtaining their pensions now say emails connect administration officials to decisions that were supposed to be made only by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
U.S. Rep Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said he believes that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's role on the PBGC, as well as his role as a member of the president's Auto Task Force and as the head of the Treasury Department, placed him in a position to unfairly influence the corporation.
The emails, according to Turner, show the Treasury Department pushed for the termination of the salaried employee pensions in 2009.
"The emails show Geithner influencing the PBGC in how to make their decisions," Turner said. "Based on the information in the email, the administration was picking winners and losers."
Turner said his ultimate goal is to get the pensions of the salaried employees restored.
The Obama administration and Treasury Department have maintained the PBGC decided to terminate the pensions.
Willie Thorpe, IUE-CWA Director of Region 7 responded: "As independent fact checkers have found, the Delphi salaried pension plan was handled according to the standard procedure that applied in 34 other corporate bankruptcies that year. And let us not forget both Mitt Romney and Representative Mike Turner both chose to let the auto industry die. President Obama made the correct decision to rescue the auto industry and the one in eight jobs it supports in Ohio. I am extremely sympathetic to those who lost pensions during the GM restructuring."
Bruce Gump, vice president of the Delphi Salaried Employees Association, said his organization obtained the emails during the discovery process in the group's lawsuit against Delphi.
"We believe the PBGC decision was either influenced or made by the Treasury Department," Gump said.
Gump, of Niles, said salaried employees attorneys have much more information that provides connections.
Many of the 20,000-plus salaried retirees and pension participants, including many of the roughly 1,500 retired salaried workers from Delphi Packard in the Warren area, saw pensions cut 30 percent to 70 percent in the government-led bankruptcy of General Motors Co. in the summer of 2009.
GM, which received a loan and taxpayer bailout of nearly $50 billion, "topped up," or made whole, hourly workers' pensions.