Uh Sorry! Treasury Axes 20,000 Pensions For Retired Auto Workers
The Daily Caller’s Matt Boyle broke a story on August 7th that detailed how Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was instrumental in axing the pensions of 20,000 retired auto workers at Delphi. Boyle wrote that the elimination of these workers’ pensions was due to their non-union status.
The internal government emails contradict sworn testimony, in federal court and before Congress, given by several Obama administration figures. They also indicate that the administration misled lawmakers and the courts about the sequence of events surrounding the termination of those non-union pensions, and that administration figures violated federal law.
Delphi, a 13-year old company that is independent of General Motors, is one of the world’s largest automotive parts manufacturers. Twenty thousand of its workers lost nearly their entire pensions when the government bailed out GM. At the same time, Delphi employees who were members of the United Auto Workers union saw their pensions topped off and made whole.
The White House and Treasury Department have consistently maintained that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) independently made the decision to terminate the 20,000 non-union Delphi workers’ pension plan. The PBGC is a federal government agency that handles private-sector pension benefits issues. Its charter calls for independent representation of pension beneficiaries’ interests.
The emails TheDC has obtained show that the Treasury Department, not the independent PBGC, was running the show.
In one particular exchange:
…Dated Thursday, April 2, 2009 shows PBGC staffer Joseph House discussing a meeting he and his colleagues were anticipating with the entire auto bailout team the following day.
House emailed PBGC colleagues Karen Morris and Michael Rae that during the Friday morning meeting, the “agenda is everything — lead off with Chrysler, then we’ll get into GM/Delphi.”
Morris had written earlier that day that the PBGC team would “probably get invited to the Monday meeting at tomorrow’s meeting,” and that the Monday meeting would involve “talks” on the GM and Delphi portions of the bailout plan. Those strategies, she wrote, including “pension issues,” would be “kicking off” that Monday.
But after the Friday meeting, House emailed PBGC staffers Karen Morris and John Menke. “We’ve been disinvited,” he wrote. “It’s for the best.”
“Who uninvited us?” Morris replied.
“Treasury,” House responded.
All the emails can be found here.