231 Pinetuck Lane Winston-Salem, NC 27104 Phone: 336-765-9765
June 15, 2004
Mr. Bradley D. Belt,
Dear Mr. Belt,
While browsing the PBGC’s website I read that recent claims experience has been the worst in the Corporation’s 30-year history, with $11.2 billion—or 63 percent—of all claims having been filed within the past three years alone. This statistic is unsettling news to the Lucent Retirees Organization (LRO) with its concerns for the best interests of 235,000 Lucent retirees and their dependents.
I am writing to ask your advice as to what the LRO might do to prevent Lucent’s pension plan from becoming part of these statistics and thereby adding to the PBGC’s $9.7 billion deficit.
The LRO has endeavored to be an advocate for pensioners to obtain answers from Lucent about its investments of monies to secure the future of Lucent retirees. On June 11, 2004, Lucent Chairman and CEO Patricia Russo rejected our request for an independent audit of the pension trust funds. A couple of weeks earlier, Lucent had turned down our request for a face-to-face meeting to address proposed agenda items on our health care trusts.
What’s a retiree to do when we read almost daily that companies have defaulted on their committed pensions and other earned benefits? How can a retiree not worry when we read reports from the Securities and Exchange Commission that it levied a $25 million penalty against Lucent for its “lack of cooperation” in the SEC’s investigation of securities fraud charges against Lucent? Are retirees just supposed to depend on prayer alone that something similar hasn’t happened with the administration of their pension and health care trust funds?
I know that the PBGC has been working hard to fully protect the pensions of Enron's workers and retirees. The men and women in their “golden years” who are members of the LRO solicit your help now so we don’t encounter a similar fate. What advice or support can the PBGC provide to Lucent retirees who want genuine assurance that their pension and benefits trust funds are protected? Does the PBGC have the authority to require an independent audit of Lucent’s pension and benefit trust funds? Please ask someone from your agency to contact me so we can establish a dialogue. If your agency cannot help us, please contact me personally and let me know to whom in our government we should turn for assistance.
K. O. Raschke