CORRE Accomplishments, Events, and Activities (2000–2009)
Year 2000—Key Accomplishments
- Retirees informally organized in September 2000 with a small group of retirees, who were concerned over the erosion of everyone’s pensions due to inflation and also by reports that the new prime contractors for Y-12 and ORNL were attempting to extract money from the Retiree Pension Fund via a “420 Transfer.”
- Retirees, with ATLC and PACE support, stage a very informal press conference/rally at DOE- ORO Federal Building on October 20, 2000.
Year 2000—Important Activities
- CORRE names officers and board members, defines its purpose, and establishes a list of objectives.
- CORRE enlists the aid of the Knoxville News Sentinel and The Oak Ridger to help publicize these objectives.
- CORRE initiates discussions with ATLC, PACE, and the DOE-ORO Manager.
Year 2001—Key Accomplishments
- CORRE develops 2001 Position Paper, urging and justifying a package of improvements needed in pension benefits for retirees, the primary one being the need for an ad hoc increase to partly offset the loss in pension values due to inflation. The Sandia National Laboratory adjustments were used as a model.
- CORRE enlists the aid of federal legislators in blocking any proposed “420 Transfer” and their support in obtaining a much-needed pension increase for retirees.
- The attempt to remove money from the Pension Fund via a “420 Transfer” is vetoed at the Washington DOE-HQ level.
- In June, retirees receive the first pension adjustment since 1989 (valued at $130 million on an actuarial basis). Individual increases ranged from 4% to 23%, depending on when a person retired.
- In response to CORRE’s request, the “pop-up” benefit (restoration of a retiree’s pension to full amount upon death of spouse) is also granted to all retirees.
- At BWXT’s invitation, publication of the “CORRE Corner” (news about CORRE) begins in the BWXT Y-12 Retiree Newsletter.
Year 2001—Important Activities
- CORRE board members begin regular monthly meetings in Oak Ridge to discuss issues.
- CORRE executive officers hold their initial meetings with prime contractor managers.
- Annual goals and objectives are developed for 2001.
- Open dialog is established by CORRE with DOE Oak Ridge Operations Office, BWXT, and UT-Battelle management, and the Tennessee Congressional Representatives.
- Subcommittees are established to handle political actions and retiree Legislative contacts, strategic planning, and other functions.
- CORRE hosts the first annual meeting for members, reporting the year’s accomplishments and future plans.
Year 2002—Key Accomplishments
- Formal Bylaws to govern CORRE organization and functioning are developed and are approved by the Board.
- CORRE receives Charter from the State of Tennessee.
- CORRE develops a 2002/2003 Position Paper, urging and justifying the package of improvements needed, together with a listing of longer range goals.
Year 2002—Important Activities
- Annual goals and objectives are developed for 2002/2003, including minimum pensions for retirees, an annual cost-of-living increase for retirees, and CORRE representation on the Pension Fund Advisory Board of the prime contractors.
- CORRE initiates its website, where pertinent information about CORRE activities is posted.
- CORRE writes to DOE Secretary Abraham concerning inequity in Oak Ridge retirees’ pensions compared with others in the DOE system.
- CORRE corresponds with Department of Labor and the IRS about discriminatory practices in administration of the Oak Ridge Pension Fund.
- CORRE holds second annual membership meeting.
- Regular meetings held between CORRE and Contractor representatives.
Year 2003—Key Accomplishments
- CORRE continues to urgently make the case with company representatives and legislators for the benefits changes requested in the 2002/2003 Position Paper. These included a minimum monthly pension of $600 for retirees with at least 20 years of service; $400 monthly for eligible surviving spouses; and a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees averaging 15%.
- CORRE is approved as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization by the IRS.
- CORRE encourages the Tennessee Congressional Delegation representing East Tennessee counties to write to DOE Secretary Abraham about the inequity in pension adjustments across the DOE system and the need for equitable treatment for Oak Ridge retirees. Both Tennessee Senators have written separately to the Secretary expressing their concerns.
- CORRE Board votes to expand the organization’s coverage to all retirees from local DOE contractors (such as Wackenhut and Bechtel-Jacobs), who are under the same pension plan.
- Rep. Zach Wamp’s office coordinates a July meeting between CORRE and the DOE Operations Office Managers to discuss our requests for improvements in retiree pension benefits.
- CORRE meets in August with M&O Contractor Managers and TN Congressional Staff representatives to discuss our pension benefit requests.
Year 2003—Important Activities
- CORRE “Active Membership” grows to over 2,000.
- CORRE continues to meet periodically with Contractor, DOE, and Congressional representatives.
- CORRE continues to carefully watch the value of Pension Fund Assets, the Present Value of Liabilities, and the Surplus against which any proposed increase will be judged.
- The third annual membership meeting is held October 8, with new officers and board members being elected for 2004–2005.
Year 2004—Key Accomplishments
- Minimum pension benefit of $600/month for retirees and $400/month for surviving spouses begins in January.
- CORRE issues 2004 Position Paper, requesting a pension adjustment to recover 75% of inflationary losses, averaging 17% based upon years since retirement.
- Petition with 5,684 signatures supporting CORRE’s goals presented to DOE-ORO, contractors, and congressional representatives.
- CORRE representative invited to participate on ORNL Benefits Advisory Committee.
- Roane County Commission issues resolution in support of CORRE’s objectives.
Year 2004—Important Activities
- Dave Reichle succeeds Charlie Kuykendall as CORRE President.
- CORRE presents adjustment request to BWXT and ORNL management.
- CORRE meets with DOE-ORO and NNSA-Y-12.
- CORRE asks that new employee benefit of 2% pension reduction for spousal reduction option be extended to retirees.
- CORRE briefs Congressional representatives and writes to local and regional elected officials, explaining goals and seeking their support.
- CORRE active membership grows to 2,250.
Year 2005—Key Accomplishments
- Issued CORRE’s 2005 Position Paper, outlining needed adjustment and spousal option benefit improvements.
- Added representatives to the CORRE Board from Wackenhut and Bechtel Jacobs.
- Discussed pension benefit concerns with the DOE-OR Manager, who agreed to make DOE Secretary Bodman aware of the issues raised by CORRE.
Year 2005—Important Activities
- Corresponded and met with chief UT-Battelle, BWXT, and Wackenhut managers to explain CORRE’s request for pension benefit improvements.
- Briefed representatives from the entire East TN Congressional Delegation on the inaction to date on CORRE’s pension requests by either DOE or the Contractors.
- 2006 Position Paper was approved March 31.
- CORRE Board members met with ORNL managers in May.
- CORRE had booth at Oak Ridge Secret City Festival June 16–17.
- Annual Meeting was held July 19 at Oak Ridge Mall’s Crown Court.
- CORRE met and interacted with candidates for election to legislature in fall.
- In September, CORRE approved purchase of 2,500 CORRE bumper stickers.
- A proposal by Keith and Judy Kibbe was approved in October for them to develop a DVD to show CORRE’s message.
- Work began in December 2006 on a DVD which fully describes our Pension issues. This DVD was produced by Judy Kibbe, with assistance from Keith Kibbe and Pete Lotts. One thousand of the DVD sets were ordered and widely distributed to members of our Tennessee Delegation and their staffs, to area city and county officials, to newspapers and TV stations in the area, and to DOE and DOE Contractor heads. The DVDs are available free to anyone. Please use the form on our Contact Us page to order
- In April, we formally submitted to DOE-HQ our comments on DOE Notice N 351.1 for the 3rd time and sent copies to members of the TN delegation, as well as to ORO and heads of DOE contractors. DOE recently announced that the notice will not be implemented.
- In April, we secured the services of an attorney to advise us as to how the Pension Protection Act (PPA) will impact the surplus in our Pension Trust fund when the Act goes into effect January 1, 2008.
- Our 2007 Position Paper was approved in May, with essentially the same two goals as in the two previous years—plus the Medicare D issue.
- In July, we developed a 10-page paper entitled “DOE’s Disinformation Regarding Oak Ridge Contractor Pensions” and posted it on our website.
- CORRE continues to meet with all the local contract managers and top DOE and NNSA managers in Oak Ridge.
- Regular contacts continue with staff of Congressmen Davis, Duncan, and Wamp, all of whom have been supportive of our efforts.
- A number of contacts were made with Senator Corker’s staff, and we were able to meet with him personally in June.
- Several contacts were made with Senator Alexander’s staff, but we have not been able to schedule a meeting with him personally.
- CORRE Board members have been busy meeting with Roane and Anderson County commissioners, City councils, and many civic groups.
- Actuarial estimates of the cost of CORRE’s request were obtained with the help of Senator Alexander’s staff: $248M to restore 75% of lost pension value and $51M for correction of the inequity in costing the SSO since 2004. These estimates include costs for both MEPP and B-J.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average peaked at 14,093, prior to the pending national recession.
- Early in the year, CORRE developed a means for calculating the cost of its requested pension adjustment and provided it to the managing contractors. The validity of our approach was verified by MEPP actuaries. This development was in response to their position that the acturaries could not calculate the cost because they did not have sufficient data.
- CORRE’s 2008 Position Paper is approved April 16, 2008.
- Close communication began and continued with Senator Alexander’s senior staff to make them fully aware of CORRE issues.
- Close communication was maintained with legislative staff of Representatives Lincoln Davis, John Duncan, and Zach Wamp; met personally with Congressman Wamp.
- CORRE brought attention to the inequities in the way that the Medicare Part D incentive is being administered within DOE and worked to have that incentive paid to the contractors and shared with their retirees.
- CORRE brought attention to the need to increase the cap on benefits paid by United Health Care and proposed that the cap be increased.
- CORRE’s requests were personally discussed with managers of all four major DOE contractors in Oak Ridge.
- Secured the support of Anderson and Roane County Executives who, with the Oak Ridge Mayor, wrote personally to Senator Alexander on behalf of retirees.
- CORRE was able to have several articles published in local newspapers regarding the proposed pension adjustment.
- The message of retirees was spread to area organizations: Oak Ridge Lions, area Rotary Clubs, Anderson County Commission, Carbide Retirees (Silvertops), and others.
- A CORRE Strategic Planning Meeting was held in February and another in June.
- CORRE developed an extensive and current e-mail address list of its membership, with the express intention of improving communication within the organization and sending periodic electronic newsletters.
- A paper newsletter was published in February showing effects of inflation.
- An excellent CORRE brochure was developed.
- A meeting was held with Oak Ridge City Council’s Legislative Affairs Committee to explore whether the City’s lobbyist might assist CORRE.
- CORRE had a booth at the Oak Ridge Secret City Festival in June.
- CORRE’s Eighth Annual membership meeting planned for September 24, 2008.
- CORRE’s membership grows to more than 3,100.
Year 2009—Key Events and Accomplishments
- The contractors began to share their Medicare Part D subsidies with retirees. This, along with a decrease in the cost of the supplemental health insurance, comprised an increase in net pension income of $74 per month for a retiree couple in the MEPP.
- The Governmental Relations Committee submitted questions to each of our congressional delegates for use during the confirmation hearings of Dr. Steven Chu for Secretary of Energy. Senator Corker used one of CORRE’s questions.
- Senator Alexander’s staff indicated that $300M had been appropriated in the 2010 budget for a pension increase and for correction of the inequity in costing the SSO for Oak Ridge retirees.
- The Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by David Mason, developed a long-range plan for CORRE and obtained Board approval.
- The Membership Committee, chaired by Paula Wright, conducted an extensive membership drive. The contractors helped by mailing letters about CORRE to retirees, placing brochures in the Benefit Plans waiting area, and including CORRE materials in retirement packages. The net result was 275 new Active Members.
- The contractors provided data re the distribution of retirees within zip codes, which allowed CORRE to compute the economic impact of its proposals on individual cities as well as on counties and the State. This information was distributed to the membership.
- The Benefit Plans offices of ORNL, Y-12, Bechtel Jacobs, and Wackenhut begin to include CORRE brochures in information packages given to new retirees.
- The Tennessee legislature issued HJR 00069, a joint resolution supporting CORRE and endorsing our proposals.
- CORRE was invited to place a representative on the Oak Ridge Elder Citizen Advisory Committee. Mary Helen Rose assumed that position.
- CORRE informed the contractors of a potential problem with new IRS withholding schedules and they alerted retirees of the potential problem.
- CORRE representatives participated in public meetings re a new Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12. CORRE supported, by resolution and by testimony, construction of the UPF.
- President Dub Shults was called to a meeting of the heads of DOE/ORO and the local contractors, to hear of plans to separate the MEPP such that ORNL and Y-12 will administer individual retirement plans. The MEPP trust fund will be divided in accordance with their respective retiree populations.
Year 2009—Important Activities
- Committee assignments for Board members and Advisors were developed and approved.
- CORRE began to include articles in the Retiree News column of the ORNL News.
- Vice President Keith Kibbe traveled to Washington with Tracy Wandell (Anderson County Commission) to attend an ECA conference and to meet with staff of our congressional delegation.
- The Membership Committee, chaired by Paula Wright, developed exhibits about CORRE that were displayed at the Oak Ridge Public Library during both July and October.
- CORRE staffed a booth at the Secret City Festival, held in June in Oak Ridge.
- The potential economic impact of CORRE’s proposals on individual Tennessee communities was distributed to community officials and to participants in the 2009 Annual Meeting, and was added to the welcome package given to new CORRE members.
- An ad hoc Website Committee reviewed the CORRE website and decided to explore replacing it with one that is available commercially. Adoption of a new website was approved by the Board. ClubWizard was selected as vendor.
- CORRE representatives participated in a major event at the New Hope Center honoring Cold War Patriots.
- An “Adjustment History” document was developed that states precisely the history of pension adjustments by the Oak Ridge contractors, including effective date, eligibility date, and amount