By the time Kodak emerges from bankruptcy--if it perchance achieves even this moderate goal--it would have a tiny footprint. The company's management is reorganizing Kodak as a "much smaller, leaner enterprise focused on commercial, packaging and functional printing and enterprise services." It will also have lighter debts and a much reduced retiree obligation, thanks to bankruptcy court judge Allan Gropper who agreed Kodak should terminate many of its obligations to retirees," according to a report in USA Today. "Individuals may see their life savings lost or lose their jobs," the judge said. "Bankruptcy can have a particularly painful effect on retirees."
Really? Tell that to Kodak's retirees who counted on the company to continue providing generous benefits long after they had left the company and who must now seek alternative medical and survivor obligations. Many of the ex-employees cited in news reports blamed Kodak's management for mismanaging the company's affairs and for failing to anticipate or foresee the major technological changes that ended its domination of the photography market.
The news that Kodak's current management wanted to ditch many employees and substantially cut retiree benefits hit me hard initially as I thought about all the naïve folks who based their lives on two wrong assumptions. The first was that the company would continue to be the undisputed leader in its market segment, and second, that it would unfailingly stick with the agreement to provide those benefits. They were wrong on both score.
I speak from experience at Nortel which did the same thing. There should be insurance on pensions. It would cost more but then it is guaranteed and regulated reported. Hopefully Kodak at least insured its LTD disability claimants because those people believed they had insurance as part of their benefits and in fact found it could disappear. It was really sad in Nortel's case as alot of cancer and injured people took a huge hit.
The Supreme court in the US may have ruled that Companies are People too, but without a soul to save or a body to incarcerate for their wrong doings, there is no incentive to play fair.
If I was to murder someone then I'd go to jail. If a company murders someone deliberately or due to negligence then the most they get is a slap on the (proverbial) wrist, a fine and told not to do it again ... Then it's back to business as usual.
A (corporation) person devoid of emotion is NOT a (human) person. No love, no hate & no empathy means in the end, the companies get the gold mine while the real people only get the shaft.
I recently visited the George Eastman House museum in Rochester.
The museum's portrayal of Kodak as a successful company was last updated in the 1990's, looking forward to "leading photography into the next 100 years".
In the US the problem of how to reduce health care costs has become a very hotly debated issue. But it really becomes the determining factor in allowing many people to lead happy and productive lives, and the ability of US based businesses to be competitive with the rest of the world. So we had better figure it out sooner rather than later.
In the UK the government funds healthcare through taxes. Not only would the situation these poor Kodak retirees have found themselves in never arise, it is also much much cheaper: UK healthcare spending per head is about 1/3 of that in the US, for a similar standard of care (our life expectancy is actually higher than yours) with the added bonus (for those with a heart) that it is available for all.
The PBGC (Pension Guaranty Benefit Corp) is deeply in the hole. That means it will either stop paying pensions of companies that failed, or, more likely, it will get bailed out by the feds, in which case our taxes will go up even more. The govt. has thus far refused to recognize this "off the books" loss. When Enron does this sort of thing, it's considered a felony.
I hope you're referring to this one line:
"Guarantees payment of certain benefits if a defined plan is terminated, through a federally chartered corporation, known as the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation."
Because other than that, in the US, unless you're a government employee, you don't get a taxpayer-funded retirement plan.
Unless you're talking about Social Security, but that's way below any 65 percent level for most workers.
ERISA establishes rules for company pension plans, but ERISA doesn't even require companies to have such plans.
65% of pension will likely be paid by taxpayers, right? But those old types of pensions are gone now. In spite of everyone complaining about big government, its the only entity that can still print money. The US had 4 decades of well funded pension plans, then the 1980's came along, and its been deregulation for business and banks, and social security and ERISA http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_compliance_pension.html as the safety net for workers, neither close to the old promised pension levels.