Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nortel US Non Qualified Pension letter to court

Docket 4020 on the Epiq Website contains a letter from Jackson Townsend, III Regarding Pension Benefits. As a retiree whose Non-Qualified pension was stopped when Nortel filed chapter 11, Jackson has expressed to the court a request for the court to regard pension benefit claims as priority or preferred so that they be considered before other creditor's claims.

I think that Jackson's letter was very courageous on his part speaking up for retirees and expressing the sentiments that we all feel. I plan to send a letter along the same lines to the court to express my desire to see pension claims treated as priority and given a higher payout percentage than other creditors who may be insured or who can certainly absorb the loss much easier than we can.

Pension claims, such as our non-qualified losses, should be considered in a different category than simply general unsecured claims. Pensions are deferred salary and are part of a contract between the company and the employee and they have a direct human impact on lives and living conditions. They should be treated with urgent immediate priority and paid out of the Nortel assets before other corporate and banking claims.

The PBGC claim is seen as a priority claim for qualified defined pension trust fund shortfalls. Our non-qualified pensions were part of a defined pension plan, registered with Erisa, but being paid out of company revenue instead of a PBGC insured trust fund. In my opinion the non-qualified pension claims should have the same priority as the PBGC claim, and treated as tax-deferred payouts in the same manner that the PBGC expects to receive their trust fund claim payment.

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