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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Delphi Corporation: Pension Plans and Bankruptcy

John J. Topoleski
Analyst in Income Security

The Delphi Corporation is a parts and components supplier to auto makers that was created in 1999 as a spin-off from General Motors (GM). In May 2009, the pension plans of Delphi were terminated and responsibility for the payment of benefits to plan participants was turned over to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), which is a government-run corporation that insures private pension benefits for workers in defined benefit (DB) pension plans. Although most workers in pension plans that are terminated by the PBGC receive their promised benefits, some workers may receive less than their full benefit. The PBGC may not pay an individual more than a statutory maximum benefit.

In 1999, GM and some unions representing Delphi workers negotiated an agreement as part of the spin-off. GM agreed to provide the workers covered by the agreements the difference between the benefits earned under the plan and the maximum that the PBGC would pay if the pension plans were terminated. Some union workers and the non-union-salaried employees of Delphi did not have such a “top-off” agreement. Some contend that GM honored the top-off agreement under pressure from the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and that the Delphi pension plans were terminated to facilitate restructuring in the auto industry. A group of former Delphi salaried employees has filed a lawsuit against the PBGC.

This report provides background on Delphi Corporation, relevant pension law, the role of the PBGC, and a description of major events at Delphi since 1999.

Date of Report:
November 9, 2011
Number of Pages:
Order Number: R420
Price: $29.95

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