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Delphi retirees to appeal ruling

A group of Delphi Corp. salaried retirees said it plans to appeal a bankruptcy court judge's ruling allowing the company to cancel health care and life insurance benefits for current and future salaried retirees.

"We do not agree with the decision that allows Delphi to use a group with the least leverage, as a way to manage its restructuring costs," said Dennis Black, interim chairman of the Delphi Salaried Retiree Association.

While Judge Robert Drain sided with Delphi, he also requested the formation of a committee to determine if any salaried retirees have documents proving their health care and life insurance are "vested" benefits that would have some protections.

The committee is supposed to complete its work in time for a hearing on March 11, said Jim Frost, a coordinator of the DRSA and a former site manager for Delphi's Town of Lockport complex.

Frost said he hopes at least some retirees will be able to protect their benefits based on the committee's work.

Delphi has argued that it needs to reduce costs, such as its salaried retiree health care obligations. Frost said he felt the judge's focus was on helping the company to emerge from bankruptcy.

"They all realize this is going to be a hardship" to the 15,000 retirees, Frost said, referring to the company and Drain.

The committee will also examine if some retirees are eligible for a federal tax credit that would pay 65 percent of their health care premiums, in the event Delphi turns the salaried retirees' pensions over to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com

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