WARREN - Delphi Packard retirees who are fighting to regain pensions said Wednesday they welcome the chance to meet at 10 a.m. Friday with Jay Williams, the former Youngstown mayor who now is executive director of the Federal Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers.
''It is our hope that director Williams will be able to help us move our issues to a successful conclusion and the thousands of jobs that have been lost to our economy as a result of the losses the various worker groups have had to endure can be returned,'' Bruce Gump, vice chairman of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association, said of the meeting, set for U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan's Warren office.
''Director Williams has the right connections to carry the message of the needs of the area to the people in the Obama Administration who can correct the mistreatment the citizens of the Mahoning Valley have endured because of the unfair and inequitable treatment of the Delphi retirees,'' he added.
Younger Delphi salaried retirees lost 30 percent to 70 percent of their pensions when federal pension insurer Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. took over bankrupt auto parts maker's salaried pension plan in July 2009.
The pension losses affect 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees and current workers, including more than 1,000 living in the Mahoning Valley.
Gump cited a Youngstown State University study that suggested nearly 5,000 jobs were lost in the Mahoning Valley alone because the Delphi retirees lost so much and so could not spend as much in the local economy.
Gump said it's important for Williams to understand ''the devastating economic impact the decisions concerning the treatment of the retirees have had on the local economy. Jobs are the most important part of any recovery, so reinstating the earned benefits of the retirees would give an immediate boost to the economy that would continue for decades to come. Not doing so will result in continued losses and a longer and much more difficult recovery.''