Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pension Victims

People who are members of a defined benefit pension plan generally think that when they retire they will receive all the benefits promised them. As I found out when I retired some of those benefits are paid out of the company funds and as a result they are fully dependent on the company’s continuing health. When Nortel went into chapter 11 protection, I and many others lost a part of that promised benefit.

Many retirees will have to face the prospect of dealing with the bankruptcy court to claim lost benefits. This procedure is not simple, and the lack of communications from Nortel and the bankruptcy-solutions company supporting the court has not helped the situation. Many people are lost as to what to do.

Fortunately many retirees and ex-Nortel employees have set up informal and formal networks to ensure that everyone knows what is going on and are helping one another in terms of the process. Others however are unaware of the potential impact.

Particularly badly hit are the widows and widowers of retirees. Many have been out of touch with the company for a long time, with their only contact being their pension checks or the health care plan. Some are only finding out about the situation when their checks stop and others are unaware of the potential impacts on them. Coupled with that, the need to access a web site and search for information is not an easy task for many.

I raise this point because there may be people you know who need some assistance. I urge all of my readers to check up on your old friends and colleagues from Nortel to make sure they know what to do to protect their interests. Since I became involved in this I have received many emails and phone calls and I know that there are people out there who need your help. Let’s use the spirit of the old Nortel in helping our friends as they face the new age and new persona at Nortel.

No comments:

Post a Comment