Everyone I spoke with today had worked for GM and Delphi for more than 20 years. They say they put in their time, paid their taxes and played by the rules. Now they are fighting for what was promised so many years ago.
When the government bailed out GM they forgot about Delphi. The company was in a budget deficit and had to make cuts to get out of bankruptcy.
"The one impediment to Delphi coming out of bankruptcy were the pension obligations we had been assured by the PBGC, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, for a long time that they were watching out for that and in fact had leans on Delphi properties to protect our pensions,â?? said former Delphi employee Ken Hollis.
But the workers were not safe.
â??A task force literally the Delphi salary out of the 170,000 people or whatever there were and 22,000 of us and threw us away,â?? said Al Gerwin.
The forty year employee says he lost everything he had worked so long for.
"We lost 30-70% of our pensions we lost all of our health care, all of our life insurance,â?? added Gerwin.
The group of former employees are making some progress.
"We have a lawsuit in federal court in Detroit and we have many senators and congressmen working with and for us,â?? said Gerwin.
For 18 months the group was stonewalled by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation and the Treasury Department. Now theyâ??re moving forward and getting closer to living comfortably again.
"We're not looking for GM to top off our pension we are looking for out pensions to be restored so that like the UAW folks we are also protected and don't have to work until we are 85,â?? said Hollis.
Former employees like Gerwin are living off savings and hope that getting what they deserve will give them the retirement they had planned on for so long.