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sciulliCHAPTER PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

March 2020

The NRLN held its semi-annual meeting in Washington D.C. on February 24-26. I urge you to view the short video and report on the meeting on the NRLN homepage at the Presidents Forum.

sciulli
Joe Sciulli (right), and Alyson Parker, NRLN Executive Director, meet with Mark Warren, Chief Tax Council, for Senator Chuck Grassley (IA).

On Tuesday, I had meetings with Drew Couch, Pension Counsel for Senator Ron Wyden (OR), Mark Warren, Chief Tax Coucil for Senator Chuck Grassley (IA), Charlie Bolton, staff member for Senator Rob Portman (OH), and Ron Storhaug, Pension Policy Advisor for Senator Ben Cardin (MD).

The focus of these meetings was the Nokia Group Life Insurance Trust (GLI). This trust fund pays retirees one year's salary upon death up to age 65 and diminishes to 1/2 a year's salary at age 70 and beyond. This fund is presently underfunded and will run out in the next few years.

The NRLN, LRO and Nokia have been lobbying members of Congress to pass legislation that would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 420 to reduce the surplus transfer limits from 120% and 125% to a lower level of 110%, subject to the requirement that annual plan surplus transfers be used for and may not exceed the combined annual life insurance and health insurance benefits or 1.75% of plan assets whichever is lower.

Passage of the amendment would make it possible for Nokia (and other companies) with pension plans funded at 110% or more to use surplus funds to sustain benefits.

The good news is that there seems to be universal agreement or at least nuetrality among the many stakeholders on this legislation. What remains is getting the language into a bill that will pass both houses of Conngress in this election year. Stay tuned!

HOW YOU CAN HELP OUR CHAPTER

  • Be an active member. Respond to Action Alerts. Congress does listen to what constituents are saying. Your letters supporting NRLN lobbying efforts make a difference. Congress knows that those letters and emails are from retirees trying to protect retirees.

  • Reach out to other retirees that you know through clubs, your emails or Facebook. We need them to join us to gain strength. Ask them to sign up for emails here.

  • Volunteer your time. We need folks who are a little younger than mid-eighties to help in small ways. It’s time for the next generation -- you know, you 60- to 70-year-olds, to step up! Bob Martina needs Grassroots volunteers. . If you have HR experience, you could be very helpful in the benefits area. If you think you would like to help, even a few hours a week, email me at lucentchapter@nrln.org.

  • Support us financially. Your contribution of $25 or more is important to finance the work of the new chapter. Click here to make your contribution by credit card or send a check to NRLN Inc., and mail to PO Box 69051, Baltimore, MD 21264-9051.

Let’s get our new chapter off to a strong beginning!

Joe Sciulli, Chapter President

NOKIA CALL CENTER DELAYS

We have been advised by Nokia that they are experiencing a higher volume of calls to their Benefits’ Call Centers likely brought about by the threat of the coronavirus impacting the United States. As a result, you may have a longer than usual wait time to speak with a representative when contacting the Benefits Center. Nokia has requested our patience during this period as they work to improve the situation as quickly as possible.


INFO ON CORONAVIRUS

You may find this article useful and informative


LRO DISSOLUTION MEETING POSTPONED

In view of the possible threat to the US from the coronavirus and for the welfare of our members, the LRO Board has decided to cancel the LRO Member meeting scheduled for March 25, in Dallas, TX. The meeting will be rescheduled to a later date with ample advance notification to our members to allow for travel accommodations. Thank you for your understanding of this postponement and your vigilance in remaining cautious and healthy.


RETIREE ISSUES BEING PURSUED BY THE NRLN

Life Insurance Benefit: The LRO has been dealing with Nokia for years to secure additional funding for the underfunded Group Life Insurance Trust (GLI). Recently Nokia announced it plans to transfer up to $89 million of the excess pension assets to pay for Group Life coverage for eligible Lucent / Nokia retirees. But current pension funding falls short of the current law's threshold of 120%. The NRLN, LRO and Nokia continue to lobby members of Congress to pass legislation that would make it possible for Nokia (and other companies) with pension plans funded at 110% or more to use surplus funds to sustain benefits.

Pension Recoupment: The NRLN is also advocating its pension recoupment proposal. Recoupment is when a pension plan sponsor finds an error in the pension payment calculation and forces a retiree (some Lucent retirees have experienced this) to pay back thousands of dollars and suffer a cut in his/her pension benefit. The NRLN wants to limit on the number of years that retirees can be exposed to paying back overpayments and the percent that can be taken from their monthly pension checks to repay the pension plan.

Corporate Mergers: We have gone through the corporate mergers with Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia. The NRLN has developed a whitepaper and is lobbying Congress for legislation to protect retirees in corporate mergers, acquisitions and spin-off.

Social Security: Beginning in 2020, Social Security will pay more in benefits than it takes in from taxes and interest. Social Security will deplete its $2.9 trillion reserve fund in 2035. While the program will not go bankrupt due to payroll taxes, benefits would be cut by about one-fourth. To prevent a cut in benefits and fund the program for the next 75 years, the NRLN is supporting passage of Social Security 2100 Act in Congress.

Medicare & Medicare Advantage: Original Medicare’s Hospital Insurance program (Medicare Part A) is pointed toward insolvency by 2026. At that time, Medicare Part A will only have enough funds to pay about 87% of costs. Congress is allowing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize insurance companies for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to serve as a move toward privatization. The NRLN opposes the use of MA plans to privatize Medicare. The NRLN is also advocating that original Medicare participants have access to the special benefits being offered in MA plans. If Medicare is privatized, current MA plan participants should be grandfathered to protect their benefits and subsidies.

Prescription Drug Prices: The NRLN is lobbying to allow Medicare to do competitive bidding for lower prescription drug prices; end pay-for-delay and other brand name drugmakers’ tactics that keep generic drugs off the market, and allow importation of safe and less expensive drugs from Canada.


HELP FOR SURVIVORS

We receive frequent requests for dealing with the passing of a retiree or surviving spouse. Consequently, we have created a document that focuses on communicating with Nokia benefits and pensions, along with links to websites with checklists for other family issues. The document is available here.


RETIREE ISSUES IN THE NEWS

This column contains media links to articles of particular interest to Lucent and Nokia retirees.Please visit www.nrln.org for a wider range of retiree news.

Nokia cuts nearly 5K jobs as Huawei bulks up
By Iain Morris; Light Reading ~ Apr 03, 2020

Opinion: These 4 Measures Indicate That Nokia (HEL:NOKIA) Is Using Debt Extensively
Via Simply Wall St; Yahoo Finance ~ Apr 01, 2020

Nokia completes Elenion acquisition for silicon photonics
Via News Wire Feed; Light Reading ~ Mar 25, 2020

Nokia WINGs it with 5G IoT
By Anne Morris; Light Reading ~ Mar 17, 2020

Opinion: Poor Timing Scuttered the Turnaround Play for Nokia
From Josh Enomoto; InvestorPlace ~ Mar 16, 2020

Nokia boasts of 1.52 Tbit/s over single mode fiber
Via News Wire Feed; Light Reading ~ Mar 13, 2020

Trump signs bill to help telecoms replace Huawei equipment
By Kevin Freking; The Associated Press ~ Mar 12, 2020

Nokia draws $560 million R&D loan for 5G
By Tarmo Virki; Reuters ~ Mar 06, 2020

Nokia lines up Intel next to Marvell as 5G chip suppliers
By Iain Morris; Light Reading ~ Mar 05, 2020

Nokia hires Marvell to fix 5G problems
By Iain Morris; Light Reading ~ Mar 04, 2020

Here’s what Nokia’s new CEO needs to do to win the 5G race and boost shares
By Lina Saigol; MarketWatch ~ Mar 04, 2020

Is Nokia About to Be Smashed Into Little Pieces?
From Alex Webb; Bloomberg ~ Mar 02, 2020

TIMELINE-From paper mills to 5G: The many lives of Nokia
Via Milla Nissi & Joanna Wodzicka; Reuters ~ Mar 02, 2020

TIMELINE-From paper mills to 5G: The many lives of Nokia
Via Milla Nissi & Joanna Wodzicka; Reuters ~ Mar 02, 2020

Nokia Replacing CEO Suri After Struggling to Make Headway in 5G
By Kati Pohjanpalo & Leo Laikola; Bloomberg ~ Mar 02, 2020

A Nokia sale could benefit competitors, big tech companies, and the US government
By George Paul; Business Insider ~ Feb 28, 2020

How Nokia’s Alcatel Deal Has Come Back to Haunt Its CEO
By Jennifer Ryan & Thomas Seal; Bloomberg ~ Feb 27, 2020

Ailing Nokia courted by Deutsche Telekom for open RAN boost
By Iain Morris; Light Reading ~ Feb 27, 2020

Nokia shares rise on report of possible mergers, assets sales
By Tarmo Virki; Reuters ~ Feb 27, 2020

Nokia to Weigh Strategic Options as Profit Pressure Mounts
By Ed Hammond, Dinesh Nair, Myriam Balezou, & Niclas Rolander; Bloomberg ~ Feb 26, 2020

Nokia hires advisers for possible asset sales or a merger – reports
By Mike Dano; Light Reading ~ Feb 26, 2020

Nokia plays the ethics card
By Scott Bicheno; Telecoms.com ~ Feb 25, 2020

Will Nokia Stock Rebound in 2020? 4 Things Investors Should Know
NOK stock is still a gamble, but the company could benefit from multiple positive catalysts

By Jamie Johnson; InvestorPlace ~ Feb 21, 2020

Nokia buys Elation to target new markets with optical tech
By Martha Degrease; Light Reading ~ Feb 19, 2020

Opinion: Nokia Stock Is Worth 45% More Based On Its Expected FCF And Year-End Dividend
From Mark Hake CFA; Seeking Alpha ~ Feb 17, 2020

Nokia denies being told to up 5G game by DT, but wins Orange 5G RAN contract
By Joe O’Halloran; ComputerWeekly ~ Feb 11, 2020

How the US buying Ericsson or Nokia would impact networking
By Peter Newman; Business Insider ~ Feb 10, 2020

Attorney general thinks US should buy controlling stake in Nokia, Ericsson
This is how the US can keep pace with Huawei, says Bill Barr.

By Nathan Ingraham; Engadget ~ Feb 06, 2020

AT&T CEO Says US Govt. Investment Into Nokia, Ericsson Is a Bad Idea
By Mike Dano; Light Reading ~ Feb 07, 2020

Nokia Sees Light at End of 5G Tunnel
By Iain Morris; Light Reading ~ Feb 06, 2020

Nokia Results Beat Provides Some Relief to Tested Investors
By Niclas Rolander; Bloomberg ~ Feb 06, 2020

Nokia Stock Continues to Slide As Huawei Scores a 5G Win, Q4 Earnings Loom
From Brad Moon; InvestorPlace ~ Feb 05, 2020

Blow to Nokia and Ericsson, Doors Open for Huawei
By Ruchi Gupta; Market Realist ~ Feb 04, 20200


SPECIAL NOTICES TO MEMBERS

Nokia Benefits Website

Retirees can use the YBR website for benefit-related activities such as:

Nokia Benefits Resource Center (NBRC)1-888-232-4111
International Long Distance 1-212-444-0994
https://digital.alight.com/nokia   
Other links here.


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