According to a Lee news release, Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), said he will initiate an official investigation of the Treasury Department’s decision to allow Delphi’s pension plans to terminate to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
The Lockton (New York) Union-Sun & Journal says the issue is the different treatment of unionized and salaried Delphi retirees’ pension benefits. Though both the Delphi Hourly and Salaried Plans ended up with the PBGC (see Despite All Efforts, Delphi Plans Go to PBGC), GM first took on $2.5 billion in liabilities to the blue collar retirees (see One Delphi Plan Goes to GM, One to PBGC).
When the salaried retirees pensions were dumped, Delphi/GM stopped paying their medical insurance (see Court OKs Delphi Retiree Benefits Cutback) and the PBGC reduced their base pensions by 30% to 70% (see PBGC Sued by Delphi Retirees).
In a letter to Lee, Barofsky said the investigation will look into “whether officials from the Treasury’s Automotive Industry Task Force or Administrations pressured new GM to “top-up” the Delphi hourly retiree pension plans; and whether political considerations played a role in favoring hourly over salaried retirees.”Last December, the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee conducted a hearing on the impact of the Delphi bankruptcy on workers’ and retirees’ pensions and other benefits (see Congress Focuses on Delphi Bankruptcy’s Impact on Workers, Retirees).