Inspector General: Yeah, Obama Treasury Dept. screwed Delphi non-union workers, but there’s nothing we can do about it
Photoshop credit: Moonbattery
Loyal readers have followed my coverage over the past three years on how President Obama’s UAW bailout threw tens of thousands of nonunion autoworkers under the bus. It’s the real-life horror story of some 20,000 white-collar workers at Delphi, a leading auto parts company spun off from GM a decade ago.
As Washington rushed to nationalize the U.S. auto industry with $80 billion in taxpayer “rescue” funds and avoid contested court termination proceedings, the White House auto team schemed with Big Labor bosses to preserve UAW members’ costly pension funds by shafting their nonunion counterparts. In addition, the nonunion pensioners lost all of their health and life insurance benefits. The abused workers — most from hard-hit northeast Ohio, Michigan and neighboring states — had devoted decades of their lives as secretaries, technicians, engineers and sales employees at Delphi/GM. Some workers have watched up to 70 percent of their pensions vanish.
Yesterday, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program released a report on the Delphi mess. You can read it here.
In a nutshell, the report confirms what Delphi workers have maintained from the start: They were screwed because, in the words of the IG, they had “no leverage.” Clout. Deep pockets. Big Labor crony influence. The IG’s recommendations for action?
The Treasury Department opted not to restore the pensions of salaried Delphi retirees during the General Motors’ 2009 bankruptcy process because they had “no leverage” to hold up GM’s bankruptcy while union retirees did, according to a government watchdog report released Thursday.
The report, by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, found that while Treasury showed little interest in restoring pensions for salaried employees, it pushed GM to restore the pensions of United Auto Worker retirees in hopes of emerging from bankruptcy within an aggressively short 40-day period without risking a strike or other delay.
The 57-page report, which offered no recommendations, found that the four-member “Auto Team” – a group of Treasury officials tasked with guiding GM through its restructuring after the federal government loaned the company $13.4 billion – “was supposed to be advisory in nature, but often was not. Because Treasury became GM’s only lender and later its largest investor, the Treasury Department had “significant leverage and influence on GM’s decisions leading up to and through the bankruptcy,” the report found.
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, who requested the inspector general’s report, said the report “discredits” the administration’s assertion that it did not influence the bankruptcy process.
“The administration thwarted the bankruptcy process for a politically expedient outcome,” he said. “What we have here is Treasury stepping in and perverting the process of the bankruptcy court, using their influence to make certain that the outcome was politically desirable to the administration and the Delphi salaried retirees losing their pensions. That’s enough for us to continue to push on the congressional side for a resolution to this.”
There’s still a cover-up going on — and the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association is calling the White House out: “SIGTARP’s finding that Treasury was greatly involved in the involuntary termination of our pension plan legitimizes our request that Treasury end its coverup. It’s withheld emails and other documents from us for 18 months. We just want our day in court.”
More reax here.
September 3, 2012 Labor Day alert: Support the Delphi workers
February 29, 2012 The Autoworkers Obama Left Behind
September 24, 2010 The Delphi disaster: Judge refuses to dismiss non-union pensioners’ charges
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