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‘A 13-year nightmare;’ Delphi retirees one step closer to regaining lost pensions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House of Representatives voted Wednesday in favor of the ‘Susan Muffley Act’ and gave Delphi retirees “a good reason to have real hope.”

Ohio Congressmen Mike Turner and Tim Ryan joined Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee and Ohio Delphi retirees Thursday to talk about the House vote and what it would mean to get this act to President Joe Biden’s desk.

“These families have gone through a 13-year nightmare,” Kildee said.

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Turner called what happened 13 years ago an “injustice.”

“When [General Motors] went through its bankruptcy and the White House picked winners and losers. The fact these people lost their pensions, that had been their hope that they had planned for in their retirement, it was a complete and total injustice,” Turner said.

Thomas Rose, who worked for GM and Delphi in Ohio for nearly four decades, said the loss of pensions for more than 20,000 retirees created “enormous hardship.”

Another one of those people who lost their pension was David Muffley. Kildee said he worked as an electronics technician for 31 years, but lost his pension in 2009. His wife, Susan Muffley, was part of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Leadership that fought for years to get the pensions restored.

Kildee said that despite having health issues of her own, Susan, who the bill is named after, avoided seeing a doctor “given the family’s financial restraints.” She was later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away in August 2012.

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“Nobody should ever be forced to forego medical treatment because of their loss of pension,” Kildee said Thursday.

Now, following the vote Wednesday, the retirees are one step closer to getting their full benefits and backpay benefits that they lost.

The act passed in the House by a vote of 254-175, which Kildee called a “very bipartisan outcome.”

“This is an issue of fairness and justice. Now we’ve got some work to do in the Senate and we just got to put on the full court press,” Ryan said.

President Biden has indicated support of the bill should it come to his desk, according to Turner. Its a similar indication previously given by former President Donald Trump.

“So you have two administrations and bipartisan support in the House. This is something the Senate should take up and they should restore these pensions,” Turner said.

“This was wrong and when the government breaks something, they have a responsibility to fix it,” Rose said.

The Congressmen were joined by Bruce Gump, the chairman of the Delphi Salaried Retirement Association, and Delphi retirees Rose, Mary Miller and Tom Green.

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Miller said she never would have expected so many roadblocks in the last 13 years, but she fought for the people she once promised had earned a good retirement in her job in Human Resources.

Gump said Wednesday’s vote meant a lot to their membership.

“For the first time we have good reason to have real hope that our government will see us as just as valuable as those who were in the unions,” Gump said.

Gump and fellow retirees thanked the lawmakers for pushing to get this bill brought to the table, but Ryan said it was them who should be thanked.

“The Delphi Salaried Retirees funded this entire thing,” Ryan said. “This is all money that not only they were getting screwed out of their pension, but they were taking their own money, hiring lawyers, going through the process for years and years”

Ryan called their efforts a “study in how to advocate for things that you believe in [and] things that are important.”