Retirement Cuts Opposed by Concerned ITT Retirees
Harris Corporation Denies Veterans and Over 6000 Retirees $ Millions in Retirement Benefits
STAMFORD, Conn. - Feb. 1, 2016 - PRLog -- Harris Corporation cancelled valuable life insurance benefits for thousands of retirees, including many who are retired Veterans, within months of last year's acquisition of Exelis, Inc., a leading defense contractor previously spun off from ITT Corp.
These retirees were all long service former employees of the ITT family of companies whose benefits, having been honored by ITT/Exelis for over 50 years, became Harris Corporation’
The CITTR group has asked Harris Corporation to immediately restore the terminated benefits in letters directed to William M Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Harris Corporation. In the face of Harris Corporation management’s repeated refusals to reverse the benefits termination, CITTR has now asked the Harris Corporation Board of Directors to intervene.
At the end of 2014, an ERISA trust held over $20 Million in assets to cover premiums to maintain these benefits for the ITT retirees. Contrary to the intent of the life insurance plan and the trust, and contrary to retirees’ expectations of security, it appears Harris Corporation is putting the trust assets into its own pocket for purposes that do not benefit the covered retirees.
Harris Corporation has made a meaningless offer to the retirees to convert the lost insurance coverage into expensive individual life insurance policies. Statements and actions conflicting with any termination reservations in the plan, including separation agreements and retirement letters, led retirees to reasonably believe this benefit would be secure as they retired, causing many to forego obtaining alternate private life insurance. Now it is too late, as at their age, the cost is prohibitive or not available at all depending on age. Harris Corporation has blamed its insurance company, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company , for mishandling their offer of conversion coverage, providing confusing, incorrect and incomplete information to retirees who have been permitted just a few short weeks to make their decision.
The CITTR group and its members are also seeking help from public officials. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has been asked to make sure that defense contract revenues, which Harris (and its predecessors Exelis and ITT) received and used to support these benefits and fund the trust assets, have been properly accounted for in the plan termination. The group has also requested the US Departments of Justice and Labor to conduct reviews of Harris Corporation’
“A significant number of the impacted retirees who worked at ITT's defense business contributed to the security of our Homeland throughout their long careers by their work on numerous military contracts with the Department of Defense,” according to Richard Ward, the Chairman of Concerned ITT Retirees. He added, “Many of the retirees who worked for the ITT defense business and Exelis are heroes who, after serving and sacrificing for America, continued to serve through their defense industry employment. It is especially troubling that Harris Corporation is depriving retired Veterans of benefits they earned and now expect - benefits often supported with taxpayers’ dollars. The life insurance benefit for these Veterans and the thousands of other ITT/Exelis Retirees must be restored by Harris Corporation.”
About Concerned ITT Retirees
Concerned ITT Retirees (www.concernedittretirees.tumblr.com) is an Unincorporated Nonprofit Association representing the interests of ITT retirees. It was formed in 2011 to address retiree issues during the 2011 reorganization of ITT Corporation (previously named ITT Industries, Inc.) leading to the spin-off of the ITT Defense business and formation of Exelis Inc. (also spun-off was ITT’s Water business, renamed Xylem, Inc.. Concerned ITT Retirees is seeking to protect the interests of ITT retirees in their retiree benefits as impacted by the 2015 acquisition of Exelis by Harris Corporation. ITT retirees may join Concerned ITT Retirees by signing up at
Concerned ITT Retirees