I will try to make this short but that doesn't really matter now does it. This blog isn't read by many.
Today was a big day for me and a few more that 15,000 former and current retirees of Delphi Corporation. On Feb. 4th the corporation asked the bankruptcy court for permission to stop being responsible to the men and women that had worked for them with the understanding that we would receive our health insurance, dental and eye care along with some life insurance that diminished with time. We, the retirees paid into this on a monthly basis to help offset the costs. At no time were we given the opportunity to pay more on a monthly basis until 2/4/09, pay 100%. On Feb. 5, 2009 we received the docket from the law firms representing Delphi via Fed-Ex overnight. It said it all, Delphi would STOP offering any insurance to the salaried retirees on April 1, 2009. On Feb 6, 2009 we got another overnight package, this time from Delphi. It had more explanation as to why THEY HAD to do it. They owed their debtors. What, we aren't considered debtors. I worked for you (Delphi) and retired with a promise and you backed down. Maybe we should have formed a salaried union but we didn't. Maybe we should have said, keep your insurance, pay us more and we will find our own. At least we would have insurance during retirement and pre-existing conditions wouldn't make a difference.
I digress, when the Delphi package came it was like I said, a cheap explanation (pity me) as to why they had to do what they did. They also had made a decision to offer the same insurance you have but you would have to pay for it all. Wow, that helps some, those with pre-existing conditions but it also hurts most if not all. You plan your retirement around what you know and what you think you can expect. To go from $300 a month insurance payments in some cases to $1400 for the same insurance is extreme. There are pensions out there that might pay for that insurance but there will be absolutely nothing left. In fact, those individuals might owe money at the end of the month to survive.
Take a look at your own case right now with your current income. I know many retirees that are getting anywhere from $2400 to about $2800 a month. Lets say you make $4000 a month and you take out 6% state taxes, 20% federal taxes and the $1400 for insurance. That leaves you $1560 a month for utilities, house payment, house insurance food, limited entertainment, cloths etc. A car payment can drop it to $1200 or less left over. You should get the picture....the retirees are not going to make anymore money and they are going to have somewhat the same bills. And NO, they won't get $4000 a month.
Well, like I said, the news came today. The judge found in favor of Delphi. We are loosing our retirement insurance. I personally have three years to medicare. I live with a pacemaker and I am still considered a cancer patient because they keep finding spots that they remove, even though are mostly pre-cancerous thank goodness. All you have to do is see the cost of replacing the pacemaker. I am due one now and my best bet is somewhere over $50,000 since the last one was near $40,000 seven years ago. There are those that are younger than me and have pre-existing conditions. I feel sorry for them.
We did not run Delphi into the ground with bad decisions. We did not give out bad loans. We did not try to get rich in schemes that were unbelievable. We left our company in good stand, in some cases we were forced out by the bankruptcy, not ready to retire with more time left age wise.
It was said but it will never happen, lets take the health care away from all the retirees in the federal government. I'll bet that there would be a reform act then. I'll bet Judge Drain of New York would see a different light then. What gets my goat is that there is some sort of rule or law called 1114 that speaks of this action by Delphi and it is easy to read. It simply states that a corporation in bankruptcy cannot eliminate retirees health care without proper notification and time. We were given 12 days to write letters of protest to the judge. The retirees weren't a formed committee, we are scattered all over the place. We don't have a union that controls all this.
Now I don't care and that is really a bad thing to say. I don't care if and actually hope in someways that Delphi doesn't emerge from bankruptcy. There has been too many greedy hands in the pot from the day GM split them off. Yes, GM is as much at fault as anyone. I don't care if anyone buys a GM vehicle or not. They (GM) complain about their legacy payments, how about their legacy of WHO they are and where they came from. If GM was to start selling cars again do you think the American worker is going to go back to work. Over 60% of the parts supplied to GM come from Delphi. Most of which is in foreign countries now. My former plant in Kettering, OH is in several states...........of Mexico and China. One of these days we will be sending flags, shoes, clothing and toys to these countries. It will be our major exports to the countries with the major manufacturing industries. Cynical, yes, true, possibly. Support NAFTA and we will find out. Support Wal-Mart and we will find out. When you see Made in America in Wal-Mart you will know the tides have turned.
The only thing left is for Delphi to turn over my pension to the federal government, the PBGC, and in someways that might be a blessing. At least there would be no more worries as to what Delphi could take away or cheat me out of.
There are 15,200 retirees. Giving each retiree a cash buyout like they have the union workers over the years of lets say one million dollars would be $1,520,000,000. Big number right? They have spent this plus on lawyers since 2005. It's a wash because they say they are going save this and more by screwing the retiree. The only people in this whole mess that cannot win, that Delphi has always taken from to pay for something else, is the salaried worker.
Okay, I done. Well, not really but I am for now. It's never going to be over until.........
This is NOT the retirement I had tried to save for or plan for.