News Release Lucent Retiree Organization
(Contact information at end of news release)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MARCH 30, 2006
Lucent Retirees Organization Demands Protections For
Pensions And Benefits If Lucent And Alcatel Merger
(New York) The president of the Lucent Retirees Organization said today if Lucent Technologies and Alcatel decide to merge it marks the beginning of a process that requires close scrutiny on whether it is in the best interests of America and the Lucent retirees whose pensions and benefits must be protected.
“No one should want a foreign company to own a $34 billion pension fund —worth more than twice Lucent’s market value—unless safeguards are in place to protect the pension and benefits of 235,000 retirees and their dependents,” said Ken Raschke, LRO president. “Lucent retirees come from a rich heritage of companies like AT&T, Western Electric, Bell Labs and Teletype where retiree benefits were earned through decades of their labor.”
Raschke said retirees and their dependents want assurances from the merged entity that their pension and benefits will be carried forward and their pension plan will always be fully funded.
“The first sentence in Alcatel’s Statement on Business Practices states, ‘The Company's activities and operations will be carried out in strict compliance with all applicable laws and the highest ethical standards,’” Raschke said. “The LRO expects that this commitment applies to retirees’ pensions and benefits.”
Raschke noted that Congress and U.S. Government agencies would review the proposed merger to determine whether there are sufficient safeguards to protect the nation’s defense and communications infrastructures. In addition, he said government leaders must hold Lucent and Alcatel accountable for the security of the pensions and benefits of Lucent’s retirees.
“An independent entity should be appointed immediately to ensure that whatever action the merged company intends to take with regard to the pension plan is proper, and that details are made public to ensure they are in the best interests of retirees,” Raschke said.
He stressed that the U.S. Government should not approve the merger unless the pension plan has fiduciaries that are independent of both Lucent and Alcatel.
“We are counting on our government to go over the merger with a fine- toothed comb,” Raschke said.
Raschke said the LRO is advised that under U.S. laws that apply to pension plans, retirees’ pensions cannot be taken away or reduced as the result of a merger. “Lucent and Alcatel should not only do what is legally required but what is ethically and morally right.
“We call upon Lucent and Alcatel to commit to publishing financial and actuarial data on the pension plan that shows the basis for current levels of funding. We also request their prompt action to bring the funding level to 100 percent on the management pension plan that is underfunded by more than $1 billion based on Financial Accounting Standards Board rules. This must be done prior to a merger closure date.”
About the LRO
The Lucent Retirees Organization was chartered in January 2003 in the state of New York. The LRO embodies the interests of 235,000 retirees and dependents. Membership in the LRO is composed of individuals under the Lucent pension plan, including all Lucent and Bell Labs retirees, and those who retired when the company was known as Western Electric and/or AT&T Network Systems, plus subsidiaries such as Teletype and Sandia. The LRO is a member of the National Retiree Legislative Network and allied with retiree associations from other major corporations. For more information about the LRO go to www.lucentretirees.com.
For More Information Contact:
Ken Raschke Ed Beltram
Phone: 336-765-9765 Phone: 719-687-6157