Former Employees Have Stake in Auto Bailout

Friday, December 12th 2008, 11:51 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The White House is working on a plan to keep the auto industry from collapsing and Oklahomans have a stake in those plans, including a former GM employee.

When GM closed its Oklahoma City plant, Darrell Mason had worked 27 years for the auto giant. He took a pre-retirement deal from the company so he's still considered an employee, one who's furious with lawmakers for not passing a bailout.

"I thought we built the best vehicles in the world here," Mason said.

Mason said every American should be paying close attention to news on the bailout because there are auto industry employees in every single state, more than 20,000 in Oklahoma who are retirees and suppliers.

These are your neighbors who Mason said will be affected if a bailout does not happen. There are also worries about pensions. Pensions are something he said every taxpayer should care about too. GM pensions are guaranteed, but if GM goes bankrupt, those pensions, billions of dollars, could go to the Pension Guarantee fund.

"I'm worried about my pension if by chance GM were to file bankruptcy," Mason said. "If it goes to the pension guarantee fund, the taxpayer will pay every penny of it."

Mason doesn't think that should happen, but he does think he and fellow loyal employees should be given what they've been counting on.

"I worked hard for that money, my friends worked hard for that money, and we gave up a lot to get that money, to get our pension, to guarantee a pension," Mason said.