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ARCHIVED DOCUMENTS FOR THE DUPONT CHAPTER

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To: NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter Members – 9/14/17
Subject: Results of DowDuPont Portfolio Review

You may have seen announcements and news reports of the merger closing and the portfolio review. But in case you have not, here are the references:

Website of merged DowDuPont Company

See News and Media Tab for:

See Events Tab for: September 12, 2017 Presentation, and Q&A)

These announcements provide:

Jim Odle and Paul Kende


Report To DuPont Retirees Chapter Membership – 7/31/17

Comments on Merger Status

DRC (DuPont Retirees Chapter) Status

We have analyzed the membership history of the NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter (DRC) to define an effective growth strategy for our Chapter. Click here to view spreadsheet graphs depicting our DRC Network’s membership growth and status, as well as visits to our webpage. The graph also shows vertical marker lines indicating our communications with the DRC, membership drive actions, and other events surrounding the proposed DuPont and Dow merger and split. Analysis of the graphs indicates strong correlation between the timing of communication events and the subsequent growth spurts – which suggests that relevant communication drives membership growth. In particular, the explicit membership drive, in early January, 2017, has resulted in the largest step increase (10%) in enrollment. Our explanation and interpretation of the graphs are outlined below.

DRC Membership Growth/green line

  1. The launch of the NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter was in early July, 2016. After a large group enrollment, we had 1216 members on 7/18/16. The green line shows the additional enrollment of 493 since 7/18/16, reduced by the 148 un-subscribed accounts. Adding the initial enrollment of 1216, gives the Total Active Membership count of 1561 at the end of June, 2017.
  2. Note that nearly every large increase in membership (of 20 or more) appears in a few days immediately following some significant communications with DRC members, which are e-mailed directly and also posted on our webpage.
  3. Between major increases in membership, there is generally a slow but steady increase in enrollment, as retirees learn of the DRC from their contacts and our web site.
  4. Since the emails go to the DRC members, new enrollments come from a) members sharing the email they receive with their non-member contacts, some of whom decide to join and b) non-members visiting our webpage (where we post our reports, major emails, and media articles), and some of them see value and join the DRC.

  5. Disabled Accounts/black line

  6. This line shows the number of members with non-functioning email addresses, spam filters which send our emails to their junk folders, or the e-mail servers that block our communications. We will attempt to reach these members to free up their email access, but they remain part of the membership count.

  7. DRC Webpage Visitors/purple line

  8. The total number of visits to our web site is tallied by NRLN, and the purple line shows the average number of daily visitors for each month. On the average, we are experiencing visits of about twice the number of members each month. Non-member visitors are a source of new members.
  9. Site visits increased strongly in the first 6 months until year-end 2016, probably because it was a new initiative and there was a high level of fresh concern about the security of our pensions. The average visit level diminished by about 25% from that peak. Nevertheless, the DRC webpage is the most visited among the 30+ NRLN Chapters and Associations. Because of the monthly averaging, the visit levels cannot be easily correlated with communication events, as we can with enrollment.

  10. Path Forward

    The net 28% growth in active membership over the last 11 months is significant, but stronger growth is needed for a bigger voice and more resources. We need to:
  11. Continue to develop and publish relevant pension security – related communications inform and stimulate interest among our current and potential members and a) reduce and reverse withdrawals, and b) encourage other retirees to join our group.
  12. Find ways to reach current and future DuPont retiree populations directly and through personal contacts and networks of current DRC members. We have already done this in the January Membership Drive, with good results, but additional retirees can be probably be reached, with appropriately designed communications through a) Existing NRLN/DRC email and Webpage, and b) Further outreach effort on Social Media. Please do what you can to help us locate new members.

To: NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter Members – May 19, 2016
From: Paul Kende

I attended the DuPont Retired Managers Society (DRMS) annual luncheon, where Ed Breen, CEO and Nick Fanandakis, CFO spoke about company business, the merger and the status of the pension plan. The Wilmington News Journal published an article on management’s comments, which you can read here. Beyond the points covered in the WNJ article, I highlight comments made by Ed and Nick in their presentation, or answering questions from the audience of about 200 DRMS members. (My own personal comments are all in parentheses).

Business

Merger

Pension


odles
Jim Odle (right), President, NRLN DuPont Chapter, with Brian Winseck, staff member for Sen. Chris Coons (DE)

Welcome Message from Chapter President - 7/25/2016

The NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter (DRC) has been formed on July 1, 2016. The purpose of the DRC is to support the NRLN, a national lobbying organization, whose mission is to advocate and strengthen broadly applicable retirement income rights and regulations, through Federal legislative action. In this way, our affiliation with NRLN gives us the opportunity to influence their legislative agenda and, in turn, benefit from their efforts to protect and improve the legislative framework, in which all retiree benefits, including ours from DuPont, operate.

I have sent a draft proposal to a group of 27 people to test the NRLN chapter concept; of the 20 who have replied to date, all are in support of the proposal – a gratifying response. These people form the initial starting group of our Chapter, which establishes the structure that other present and future DuPont retirees can join if they wish. With inputs from this initial group, the final proposal has been sent directly to about 1300 people in our direct e-mail retiree network; I will report on the level of support, after we get all responses. If you have not received the proposal directly, you can review the proposal here. DuPont retirees receiving the proposal by forwarding from others, or Facebook, or this webpage, are invited to join – follow enrollment instructions at the bottom of the left column of this webpage.

Large e-mail distributions through various providers such as msn, gmail, Verizon, Comcast, etc., may be subject to limitations on a “per message”, and/or a “per day” basis; messages may also be mistakenly derailed by spam filters, depending on their design and your specific spam or junk-mail settings. These problems limit the reliability of direct e-mail delivery and we have had such problems with our correspondence. But as an NRLN chapter, we not only have a web-page on their website, we also have the use of their e-mail utility, designed for distribution to large groups, hopefully avoiding delivery reliability issues. NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter members will be getting emails from the NRLN mail server on DuPont retiree benefit-related issues and activities, as well as some NRLN matters, such as Action Alerts, Surveys, annual solicitation for contributions, etc.

The email address list of members is confidential, and will not be shared with anyone, and you will not receive spam. The data base is secured against hacking, has not been compromised to date, but we are all aware of breaches of many corporate systems, so no absolute guarantees can be given.

With your help, I will try to serve the income security needs of the DuPont retiree community, and while I hope our Chapter will grow, every e-mail you receive from the NRLN e-mail server will have an “unsubscribe” option, to permit anyone to opt-out as a member of this group, anytime, for any reason. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. You can reach me on my email link below. As our needs become more clearly defined, we will identify other DRC officers.

It is my understanding that DuPont is planning to launch a company managed retiree information web site, which we all should visit for official DuPont information. DuPont does not sponsor or manage our NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter but we have informed them of its formation.

In the last 4 months, many of you have received emails from Paul Kende, reporting on his communications with DuPont senior management, regarding our pension security concerns, and on DuPont’s response addressing them. This effort will continue; however, as indicated in the first paragraph, the purpose of the NRLN DuPont Retiree Chapter is to focus on the legislative infrastructure, affecting retiree income protection, which goes beyond our more specific DuPont pension security concerns. The NRLN conducts research on difficult benefits issues and lobbies Congressional Committees, the Departments of Labor, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, Treasury and the Pension Benefits Guarantee Corporation. While the NRLN does not represent us with DuPont, their knowledge, experience, and contacts in this arena can provide some guidance. We also plan to use the NRLN email utility to give our members updates on communications with DuPont.

I am looking forward to serving our needs to protect our collective retirement income security, through our affiliation with the National Retiree Legislative Network.

Jim Odle, President,
NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter
odlejk@gmail.com


To: NRLN DuPont Retiree Chapter Members
Report on NRLN Fly-In Event in Washington on March 13-15, 2017

I attended the Spring NRLN (National Retiree Legislative Network) Fly-In event in Washington, DC on March 13-15. About 30 retirees from all over the U.S. attended and met with members of Congress to advocate for legislation protecting retiree income and benefits and to reduce the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Three of the four focus areas for this event were the same as last fall's event, with one new area - the protection of retiree benefits in bankruptcies.

An unexpected snowstorm caused confusion and some meetings had to be re-scheduled or canceled, however, in the end it turned out to be a productive event. I have learned from last year's experience and from discussions with NRLN executives not to expect quick actions on newly proposed legislation, rather that lobbying requires patience and persistence, more like a marathon than a sprint race.

The following is a high-level summary of the legislative proposals (See links below to more detailed information) we presented to the Congressional Delegations:
  1. NRLN urges passage of proposed legislation now in Congress:
    • S. 41 and H.R. 242, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2017, which would reduce the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate the best possible price of prescription drugs.
    • S. 92, the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act of 2017, to allow individuals to import a 90-day supply of prescription drugs from an approved Canadian pharmacy.
    • S. 469 and H.R. 1245, the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act of 2017, would lower cost of prescription drugs by allowing Americans to import safe, low-cost medicine from Canada and
    • would authorize the HHS Secretary in two years to allow importation from other advanced countries.
    • S. 124, the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act of 2017, to expand consumers’ access to the cost-saving generic drugs and increase competition between drug manufacturers to end “pay for delay” deals—the practice of brand-name drug manufacturers using anti-competitive pay-off agreements to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market.
    • In addition, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has the authority (under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003) to issue an order to begin legal importation from Canada. We submitted an NRLN composed letter to our representatives to send to the Secretary, urging him to exercise this authority. Three Senators (Grassley, McCain and Klobucher) have already done this. Members of Congress who have opposed importation from Canada have cited drug safety concerns. However, the NRLN believes that this could be managed. After all we import foodstuffs from all over the world and the FDA has managed to keep us safe from bad food.
  2. NRLN’s proposals to provide protections for pension plan participants in pension plan mergers: While plan mergers can be beneficial by reducing administrative expenses, and increasing the fund's ability to get better returns, the NRLN is concerned about a form of financial engineering whereby plan sponsors have combined two (or more) plans, some better funded than others. If the merged plan then becomes funded above the 80% level the required minimum contribution is reduced. This harms participants in the better funded plan. NRLN proposes legislation to require plan sponsors to give notice of impending mergers to the PBGC, and that PBGC should have the authority to approve or disapprove plan mergers, and that the plan merger should not reduce the required plan minimum contribution for a period of 5 years.
  3. NRLN's proposals to provide protections for pension plan participants in corporate mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs: Corporate mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs can result in several situations that harm pension plan beneficiaries. Activity in this area involving foreign firms is especially risky to pension plan participants. NRLN proposes to update several ERISA provisions to ensure that these activities do not unnecessarily increase the risk of a distress termination and pension losses for plan participants.
  4. NRLN's proposals for bankruptcy law reform to protect benefits in corporate bankruptcies: Many NRLN members have lost and/or are facing loss of benefits due to corporate bankruptcies (for example, Kodak, Chrysler, Avaya, Delphi, etc.) and some related their experiences at the meeting. NRLN proposes strengthening current bankruptcy codes to give retirees higher status in bankruptcy courts, comparable to the status of secured creditors. Although at present this does not seem to be a concern for DuPont retirees, we never know what might happen when the merged company splits into three, or when the future companies decide to sell off under-performing businesses.

Our proposals were well developed, in concise but comprehensive packages, with Executive Summaries and legislative language to facilitate amendments to existing laws. You can review the key documents in full detail at www.nrln.org under the Legislative Agenda tab or by going directly to this link. The Talking Points were used to guide our discussion, and the Executive Summaries along with suggested language for amendments, were left behind for our legislators to review and decide whether they will support them.

Although Representatives and Senators were very busy with hearings and other activities related to the incoming administration, I was able to meet with staff members of Delaware Senator Coons (see attached photo) and West Virginia Senator Manchin. I was not able to arrange a meeting with Delaware's Senator Carper nor was I able to meet with Delaware's new Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (I am working to schedule a phone call or meeting in Delaware with her). I chose to meet with Manchin's staff because he represents many DuPont Retirees. In the future, I hope to meet with members of Congress from other states with large numbers of DuPont retirees.

With political gridlock, we cannot reasonably expect rapid action on any legislative proposals. However, our proposals are not especially politically sensitive or controversial, and our representatives and their staffs seemed keenly interested in them. The prescription drug issue may be one area that we will get some action on in the coming year. Many members of Congress are in favor of our proposals and the President has expressed his support for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and for importation of medicines. I encourage you to contact your own members of Congress and advocate for action on this issue as well as the others. You can find your Legislator's support or non-support for these issues here.

You can send them a message at either their website or at this link.

Creating legislative change is difficult and slow, but we can’t expect progress if we don’t try. We will continue to press our politicians to improve the legal protection of retirees’ income security, because we know from the experience of others, that when companies restructure businesses, post-merger / split decisions can lead to significant adjustments to retiree pension and healthcare benefits. I am looking forward to attending the September NRLN Annual Leadership Conference in Washington, DC, and going to Capitol Hill again to advocate for issues important to all retirees.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

Jim Odle, President, DuPont Retirees Chapter
National Retirees Legislative Network
odlejk@gmail.com


2/6/2017

To: NRLN DuPont Retiree Chapter Members

Subject: Company Paid Survivor Benefit

A few weeks ago I attended a retiree breakfast and the subject of "the Company paid pension survivor benefit" came up. Since I have been retired for 3 years this past month my memory had failed me on this aspect of our pension benefit so I decided to look into it. I learned a few things that I had forgotten about my own survivor benefit. There is nothing actually new here, but if you are not completely clear on your survivor benefits, it might be a good idea to go back and review them.

Here is the link to the latest version of the Pension Summary Plan Description or SPD dated July, 2013. The information on the Company paid survivor benefit starts on page 13.

You can also:

Additional key points, which may or may not be relevant to your situation, are summarized below. But please recognize that I am simply describing my own best understanding of how the system works, and I am NOT offering any official explanations – you need to get that from DuPont Connections, as needed.

  1. If you retired before 12/31/2007, the Company paid survivor benefit is about 41.7% of your pension. If a spouse is named and the spouse is significantly younger than the retiree the benefit may be reduced due to the longer life expectancy just as it would if minor children are named. See points 4 and 5 below if you chose income leveling or if you retired with an early retirement incentive.
  2. If you retired after 12/31/2007, the Company paid survivor benefit was frozen on 12/31/2007, so the formulas calculate the survivor benefit as though you had retired on or before that date. Since I retired in 2014, my Company paid survivor benefit is about 32%.
  3. If you and your spouse opted to take a greater survivor benefit, by accepting a reduced pension, that would change the survivor benefit which would otherwise apply in 1 or 2 above.
  4. You may have retired with an enhanced pension due to an early retirement offer, but that does not change the $ value of the survivor benefit, which is calculated on the basis of your un-enhanced pension.
  5. You may have elected income leveling when you retired - but this does not affect the survivor benefit $ value.
  6. You might want to take a look at who you can name to receive the survivor benefit. It is not just a spouse. According to the SPD you can change the beneficiary at any time. See page 13 of the SPD. This seems to be about the only thing you can change with regard to your pension once started except for things like tax withholding, bank information, etc. But while the beneficiary may or may not be the spouse, the spouse has certain protected legal rights that has to be considered if the beneficiary is changed.

Again, this is based on my understanding of how the pension plan works. Please read the SPD and talk to DuPont Connections to confirm details of your own situation.

I hope you find this helpful. If you have better information or think I may have gotten something wrong please let me know and I will correct/reissue this note.

Jim Odle, President
NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter
odlejk@gmail.com


December 8, 2016
Clarification: My last email contained a statement in the second paragraph that could be misinterpreted. I should have said that DuPont will stop post-retirement health care coverage for employees under 50. I have attached a new copy with the correction in red.

To: NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter Members

Subject: Expanding on Wilmington News Journal Article about DuPont Pensions

If you regularly visit the NRLN (National Retiree Legislative Network) DuPont Retirees Chapter webpage you may have clicked on the link to the article “DuPont to end pension contribution for active employees” and read the article that was published in the Wilmington News Journal on November 17, 2016.

The article described the DuPont decision to “freeze” the pension plan and the non-contributory life insurance for active employees, effective in Nov 2018, or whenever the first spinoff occurs, as well as stop post-retirement health care coverage for those under 50, also at that time. In addition, a Drexel University professor was quoted that “retirees have little to worry about because the PBGC [Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation] guarantee pensions earned as long as they are less than $60,000”, which is over-simplified and misleading information.

Since becoming involved with the National Retiree Legislative Network and forming our Chapter, we have learned much about pension issues and the role of the PBGC. By law, there are extensive rules the PBGC must follow when calculating a retiree’s pension benefit after it takes over a pension plan. The PBGC’s maximum guarantee for participants in single-employer pension plans is based on the individual’s age on the plan’s termination date – these maximum guarantees are posted on the PBGC’s website here.

The following points are provided to help provide more clarity on the issue of PBGC pension guarantees, on other references in the News Journal article and on the role of the NRLN in advocating legislation to protect our pensions:

We believe that our NRLN Retirees Chapter is a very different and much better mechanism, than a Facebook page, to advocate for the security of our pensions, because it is a legislative action driven lobbying organization of over 50,000 active members:

As a member of the NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter you understand these NRLN strengths, based on previous Chapter emails to you. Your help is needed to extend the Chapter’s reach to other DuPont retirees and future retirees. Please share this with others and encourage them to visit the Chapter’s webpage and sign-up to receive Chapter messages. The sign-up link is near the bottom of the left-most column. When selecting the chapter, using the drop down menu, we are listed near the bottom as “NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter”.

Your membership in the NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter is important to your ability to keep abreast on what is happening with DuPont, its possible merger with Dow, and being prepared, as necessary, to be strong advocates for the security of our pensions. Please feel free to contact me directly or by replying to our emails sent through the NRLN email service.

Jim Odle, President
NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter
odlejk@gmail.com


1/7/2017

Help Spread the Word on NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter

To: NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter Members

I am reaching out to you, our members, for help in making more DuPont pensioners aware of our NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter and to encourage them to join us. We currently have about 1600 members. This is only a small percentage of the more than 130,000 pension plan participants. With more members, we will have a stronger voice and greater influence in our efforts to protect our retiree benefits, not only those provided by DuPont, but Social Security and Medicare as well. I hope that you have found our reports on communications with DuPont, and our work to advocate for stronger legislation to protect retiree income security, to be worthwhile and useful to our cause.

There are several ways that you can help:

  1. Email me with contact information on any retiree groups that you are aware of - 25 year clubs, plant retiree organizations, retiree social groups, etc. We have a half page note briefly describing the NRLN/DRC , and we would invite them to join us, either directly, or through you, whichever way it would seem most appropriate.
  2. Contact other retirees in your own network with the following message, to make them aware of our group, and to ask them to email me for more information: The National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN), is a non-partisan non-profit lobbying organization, aiming to protect pension and other retiree income security, through legislative advocacy. We have formed the DuPont Retirees Chapter (DRC) under the NRLN umbrella, to support this effort. As a chapter of the NRLN, we benefit from: 1) the work of a dedicated Washington lobbyist who advocates for legislation favorable to retirees, 2) guidance and contacts for coordinated advocacy with our political representatives in various states, 3) this webpage for posting specific information relative to our DuPont pensions, and 4) an email utility, which enables us to get timely information to our network on in-depth retirement issues analysis, lobbying activities and results, as well as on our continuing communication with DuPont senior management, around our more specific pension security concerns.

    To learn about these efforts and get connected to our growing network of DuPont retirees, please email Jim Odle, President, DRC (odlejk@gmail.com).

    • For individual direct contacts, simply copy the above paragraph and paste into an email.
    • For Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter contacts, I suggest you send a private/instant message to DuPont retirees with the paragraph above. You can address a single message to multiple people simultaneously, by placing their name in the address line, copying and pasting the paragraph above into the message space, and clicking “Send”. An instant message is more likely to reach your contacts, because they get notification of it, while just posting the paragraph for public viewing, depends on them to come visiting your timeline/page, without knowing there is something new of interest there. Also, it would not be of interest to your non-DuPont retiree contacts. In addition, posting anything about NRLN/DRC, on the DuPont Pensioner Facebook page, will most likely be deleted by the administrator, and you may be expelled from the group, as he has done many times before.
  3. 3. Let me know of any other ideas that you have about how to increase our membership.

Thank you in advance for your help and support. Also contact me with any questions or comments.

Jim Odle
President, NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter
odlejk@gmail.com


To: Fellow Pension Plan Participants
From: Paul Kende
Subject: Update on Pension Security 11/21/16

I would like to provide you with an update on the key issues and concerns, associated with the security of our pensions, based on my review of SEC filings and impressions from my continuing informal discussions with DuPont management.

Our main pension security concern continues to be that in the corporate restructuring process, DuPont’s current pension obligations need to be properly transferred to the SpinCos, AND that they inherit the financial resources and the capacity to fulfill those long-term obligations. This capacity is determined by their initial funding, and long-term investment performance and business success.

Please forward this to your own contacts, who may or may not be members of our NRLN/DuPont Retiree Chapter. They would be welcome to join – visit our webpage http://www.nrln.org/CHAPTERS/DUPONT/duponthome.html

Pension Plan Funding Status

With significant downsizing, changes in discount rates, and a $230M contribution in Sept/Oct 2016, Pension Fund funding level needs to be “re-measured”, after the 4Q16 financial results are defined.

Lump Sum Buyout

The Lump Sum offer acceptance rate was 53% of the approximately 18,000 eligible Pension Plan Participants - about as expected. With the reduced number of Participants, PGBC premiums and administrative costs also diminish, and all of this helps stabilize pension liabilities.

I have requested that DuPont explain the interest rates and mortality factors used to calculate both the individual Lump Sum Offers, as well as the Pension Plan as a whole, and describe the impact of the Lump Sum Buyout on the funding level of the remaining Pension Plan.

Pension Fund Asset and Liability Allocation

DuPont continues to work with the banks on the capital structure of the 3 anticipated SpinCos, in which Pension Fund asset and liability allocations are significant components. But these allocations are joint Dow and DuPont decisions, which cannot be negotiated until the merger itself is approved and the two companies can begin to actually work together. After the mergers, there will be 18-24 months to work out these allocation and financial arrangements, before the business separations are expected to take place.

The merger documents indicate that Pension Plan Participants from businesses which have direct successors (e.g. Ag Products, Electronics, etc.) are planned be assigned to those SpinCos. However, Participants from corporate functions and divested or discontinued businesses, who are not clearly associated with one of the SpinCos, are not mentioned in the merger documents and SEC filings.

I have requested DuPont to confirm that all Plan Participants, and their share of the pension assets and liabilities, will be allocated to one of the SpinCos. While I am sure that this is DuPont’s intention, the great majority of the participants fall into this group, and they would be significantly relieved by a clear, written DuPont statement, that they will be included in the allocation process.

DuPont Contribution Plan

The SEC filings on the merger/split show a back-end loaded, “contemplated” Pension Fund Contribution Plan of $347M in 2015, increasing each year to $812M in 2020. I have asked DuPont to explain:

  1. The seeming inconsistency of the $230M contribution in 2016, with the indicated plan.
  2. How the 6-year Pension Fund Contribution Plan, described in the SEC filings, will be binding on its successors, in view of a 2-year life expectancy, if the merger/split takes place as proposed.
  3. How the 6-year Pension Fund Contribution Plan fits into the 15-year amortization plan, initiated by DuPont in 2011, under the Pension Relief Act of 2010, to eliminate the pension funding shortfall.
  4. How DuPont’s 15-year amortization plan would be passed on to its 3 SpinCo successors.

Non-Qualified Pension Trust

A Trust is in place for non-qualified pension payments (PRP), to be fully funded at the time of the merger. I do not know the discount rate that will be used to determine funding for the Trust.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Role

PBGC takes its role and responsibilities seriously and monitors Pension Plan restructuring. But since the allocation process and decisions cannot go very far until the merger is approved, there is not very much for PBGC to do at this point. They have requested financial status and forecast data on the Pension Plan and this has been provided by DuPont. The PGBC is not a regulatory agency but they are highly respected and have influence with both Pension Plan Employers/Sponsors and the Regulators.

Delaware Congressional Delegation Visit

Delaware’s Congressional Delegation has visited with DuPont senior management on 11/14/16. Among other topics, they discussed retiree concerns about pension security as a significant issue (there may be about 20,000 DuPont Pension Plan Participant constituents in Delaware). DuPont management reaffirmed their intention to properly fund the Pension Plan.

Regulatory Approval of Proposed Merger/Split

In-spite of vigorous scrutiny, requiring more time than anticipated, management is expecting the proposed merger/split to be approved and is planning and operating on that basis.


Report on Capitol Hill Lobbying Session, and a Request for Feedback (10/23/16)

As indicated in my last email to our membership, Paul Kende and I attended the NRLN (National Retiree Legislative Network) Fly-In event in Washington, DC, Sept. 26 – 28. DuPont retiree Vijay Kumar also attended one of our Capitol Hill visits. It was a well-structured event, and we had the opportunity to advocate for legislation protecting retiree income, as well as to make valuable personal contacts with executive staff of both NRLN and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

Here is a high level summary of the legislative proposals we gave to various Congressional Delegations:

  1. NRLN’s proposals to provide protections for pension plan participants in pension plan mergers: mergers should be
    • reportable to PBGC
    • subject to pre-approval;
    • not be permitted to reduce minimum funding contributions for 5 years;
    • be subject to enhanced scrutiny in distress terminations
  2. NRLN’s proposals to protect retirees in corporate mergers, acquisitions and spinoffs: the PBGC should have broader and more flexible authority to address spin-offs or other transactions that greatly increase the risk of future loss to the PBGC and participants, including required advance notice, preapproval, and enforcing liens against US based assets of foreign sponsors.
  3. NRLN urges passage of:
    • the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2015, pending in Congressional Committees, which would reduce the cost of prescription drugs;
    • the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act of 2015, which have languished in the Senate and House Committees since 2015.
    In addition, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has the authority (under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003) to issue an order, to begin legal importation from Canada; we submitted an NRLN letter to our representatives to send to the Secretary, urging her to exercise her authority.
  4. NRLN is proposing some changes to the Annual Funding Notices, for improved clarity and transparency, to better inform pension plan participants on the status of their pension plan.

These proposals were fully developed in a concise but comprehensive package, with Executive Summaries and legislative language to facilitate initiation of corresponding bills. You can soon review the key documents in full detail at www.nrln.org under the Legislative Agenda tab. The complete package was left behind for our legislators to review and decide whether they will support them, and then get back to us with questions and the path forward.

These issues are important to all US retirees including DuPont’s. For a new Chapter like DRC, it was valuable for us to see how NRLN works to define the issues and develop the proposals to address them, and then get all its Chapters and Associations aligned to take our message to various Congressional Delegations. We learned a great deal about lobbying Congress for issues important to retirees. Through PBGC’s presentations and our personal conversations with their senior staff, we have gained some insights about their role, capabilities and limitations, some of which are addressed by the legislative proposals.

Although Representatives and Senators were working under a deadline to recess before the end of the week and get back home to campaign, we were able to meet to with Delaware Senator Tom Carper and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. They listened to a brief summary of the NRLN’s proposals on pension protections and prescription drug price gouging before asking us to go over the proposals in more detail with their staffs. While Delaware Senator Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney were not available, we reviewed our proposals with their staff. (Click here to see photos from two of our meetings.)

With political gridlock, and the upcoming election and lame duck session, we cannot reasonably expect rapid action on any legislative proposals. However, our proposals are not politically sensitive or controversial, and our representatives and their staffs seemed keenly interested in them. Creating legislative change is difficult and slow, but we can’t expect progress if we don’t try - we will continue to press our politicians to improve the legal protection of retirees’ income security, because we know from the experience of others, that when companies restructure businesses, post-merger/split decisions to save cost can lead to significant adjustments to retiree pension and healthcare benefits. I am looking forward to attending the March NRLN Annual Leadership Conference in Washington, DC, and going to Capitol Hill again to advocate issues important to all retires.

Finally, I have provided directions below for making contributions to the NRLN. We deferred asking for contributions for 3 months, to give you a chance to see the value – but now it is time. I think NRLN is a very valuable resource for DuPont retirees and ask you to please consider making a contribution. Twenty percent of the contributions from our chapter members will be credited to our DuPont Retirees Chapter account, held by NRLN, which can cover various chapter expenses (travel to lobbying events, catering for meetings, printing, etc., as needed). Our current reserves are $2500 (provided by NRLN at Chapter start up) less our recent travel expenses to Washington, DC for the Fly-In.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Jim Odle
President, NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter
odlejk@gmail.com


Chapter Update - 08/12/2016

DuPont Factsheet SEC Filing – May 25, 2016

Chapter Proposal Cover Letter – July 5, 2016

Chapter Proposal – July 5, 2016

Paul Kende’s Email – May 2, 2016

Paul Kende’s Letter to DuPont Executives – March 3, 2016

DuPont’s Letter to Pension Plan Participants – February 2016