Other Issues and Concerns
The Purpose of Pension Trust Funds. Pension trusts exist for the purpose of providing pension benefits to retirees and spouses. Pension benefits are held in and distributed from pension trusts, not from operating funds. Contractors may or may not add funding to pension trusts to increase or maintain funding levels, but pension trusts do not exist for the purpose of growing or maintaining surplus funding. CORRE believes that It is patently wrong for legitimate retiree needs to be ignored or dismissed when their pension trust is financially sound.
Diversion of Pension Trust Funds. CORRE strongly opposes any attempt to raid pension trusts in order to use the funds for any purpose other than provision of retiree benefits.
Hidden Consequences. We are concerned when changes in benefits result in increased cost to retirees, as was the case of ORNL’s new health care insurance plan. That plan not only increased cost, but also did it disproportionately such that older retirees pay higher costs than younger retirees. It is important that contractors avoid such hidden consequences when changes are made.
The Plight of Retirees. Retirees are trapped in that their welfare is largely dependent on past circumstances, choices, and actions. They have little flexibility to adapt when their retirement benefits are changed. We are concerned that the contractors do not always consider the plight of their retirees when changes in benefits are contemplated.
Changing Managements. We are in a period of considerable change in the management structures of DOE’s facilities in Oak Ridge. This is driven largely by a desire to reduce costs. We are concerned that new contractors will bring less regard for retirees and, hence, will be more likely to target retirement plans for cost savings.