What's the relationship between NRPC and Koskie Minsky? NRPC has retained Koskie Minksy as counsel, so the law firm has NRPC Group as a client. The Canadian courts have confirmed Koskie Minsky as the legal representative of former employees of Nortel in Canada.
Will NPRC and Koskie Minsky be representing members of the pension plan for unionized Nortel employees? Yes, for those CAW members who wish to be represented by KM.
Will those who receive a Survivor's Pension be included in the group? Yes.Your pensions will receive the same treatment as those of other plan members.
Can deferred pension plan members be part of this group? Yes.Your pensions will receive the same treatment as those of other plan members.
Are Pension Plan members resident in Quebec being included? Yes.The effort is nation-wide and includes Pension Plan members from all provinces. The filing by Nortel is under the CCAA, a federal statute.
Will NRPC and Koskie Minsky represent me if I live in the United States,but I receive my pension from Nortel's Canadian Pension Plan? Yes. As long as you are a former Nortel employee with an interest in the Canadian Non-Negotiated Pension Plan or related retirement benefits, you can be a part of the group.
Will you represent me if I am a member of the U.S. Pension Plan? No.The US Pension Plan will be dealt with through separate insolvency proceedings in the United States. You should contact other retirees in the U.S. to determine who will be representing your group in these proceedings.
Will you represent me if I am currently receiving disability payments and my pension continues to accrue? On July 30, 2009, Koskie Minsky was appointed as Representative Counsel for employees of Nortel who are in receipt of long-term disability benefits, subject to certain exceptions. As LTD benefits continue to be paid by Nortel, these individuals do not have a claim against Nortel. If claims should arise in the future, Koskie Minsky as Representative Counsel will file claims on behalf of LTD recipients.
Will NRPC and Koskie Minsky be representing members of the Pension Plan in respect of SERP or Excess Pension Plan payments to which they are entitled? Yes.
Will Koskie Minsky be representing active Nortel employees who have an interest in Nortel's defined benefit Pension Plan? No. Koskie Minsky will not be representing active employees in Nortel's CCAA proceedings. Koskie Minsky will be representing only former employees (and those on Long Term Disability as described in another question) of Nortel.
I understand that, in March, Nortel obtained Court approval to make bonus and retention payments to certain key Nortel employees. Can you please explain this? On March 6, 2009, Nortel obtained Court approval to make certain payments in respect of its Key Employee Retention Plan (KERP) and Key Executive Incentive Plan (KEIP) programs. Koskie Minsky attended at this Court appearance to confirm that such payments will not interfere with retiree health benefit or registered pension payments.
After considering all parties' submissions and the fact that the same set of incentives were approved by the US courts on March 5, 2009, the Canadian Court approved Nortel's KERP and KEIP Plans on the basis that retaining key employees is essential to the successful restructuring of Nortel. Please note that these payments will not be made in a lump sum, but will be paid out in installments if and when Nortel reaches certain financial and operational "milestones". If Nortel does not reach these "milestones", the incentive payments will not be paid out to those employees in the KERP and KEIP programs.
Although this has caused frustration for former employees of Nortel, it is important to note that the Court made this decision having considered all parties' submissions and all relevant information. The Court is confident that this will help to achieve the long-term objective, which is to allow the company to restructure successfully and to continue as a going concern. We hope that this will result in the best outcome for members of the NRPC as well.
However, in November, CBC News reported that they had received an internal Nortel document indicating that Nortel had approved a plan to distribute $7.5 million US in new salary increases and bonuses to 72 Nortel executives. We are awaiting clarification as to whether there was Court approval of such dispursements but now that it is clear that Nortel is not planning to restructure and continue as a going concern, such a program appears to be a gross misuse of Nortel assets. These funds should instead be used for creditors such as pensioners, terminated employees, and those on Long Term Disability, many of whom will otherwise be forced onto publicly funded safety nets as their Nortel benefits are cut. This represents another good example of why Canada's bankruptcy laws must be revised immediately.
What can Koskie Minsky do for us? As NRPC representative counsel, they can provide knowledgeable representation to the Court and the Monitor. They can ensure that the interests of the retiree group are well represented through the CCAA process and into bankruptcy if that should be the outcome. If there is a Claims Process, they can help you to make your claim and hire actuaries to assist in valuing those claims.
What is Koskie Minsky's role in Nortel's CCAA Proceedings? Koskie Minsky sought and achieved a Court Order to represent former Nortel employees who still have an entitlement in the NNL Managerial and Non-Negotiated Pension Plan (the "Pension Plan"), including entitlements to health benefits, TRA benefits, or such other termination or retirement.
Are the NRPC and Koskie Minsky planning to hold information meetings elsewhere? Yes.Meetings have been held in Ottawa, Mississauga, London, Montreal, and Belleville. We plan to hold meetings in other cities such as Calgary, provided there is sufficient interest.
Are people currently employed by Nortel US, but previously employed by Nortel Canada included in the NRPC Group? Yes if they have an interest in the Canadian DB pension, either as existing pensioners or as deferred pensioners.
I am a retired Nortel Employee who lives in the US but receives both Canadian and US pension Benefits. Do I join both the Canadian and US pensioner groups? Yes you should join both groups since they will have different legal representation into different court jurisdictions.
Since the pensioners have the same priority as the other unsecured creditors, what can Koskie Minsky do to help pensioners? If the Company wants to wind-up the pension plan and the courts settle on say 65 cents on the dollar, is there anything else that can be done? Under CCAA, nothing is fixed and everything is arguable before the judge. The deficit in the pension fund could be addressed in ways that aren't limited to a simple payment into it of some prorated claim amount. In addition, although all unsecured creditors may be paid the same, it is possible that the judge may order a different rate for former employees, or any other class. KM will argue for our interests as a vulnerable group, compared with bond holders and trade creditors, and oppose any others.
Koskie Minsky also represents recently laid off employees. Isn't there a conflict of interest between recently terminated employees and retirees? KM does not believe they have a conflict of interest since they expect all former employees to be treated the same for similar claims. The court ordered former employees, both recently terminated employees and retirees, to form a single group with a common lawyer.