Harris Corporation Inflates Balance Sheet By Slamming Veterans and Retirees

$101 Million of Long Promised Life Insurance Suddenly Cancelled By Defense Contractor
STAMFORD, Conn. - Feb. 11, 2016 - PRLog -- Harris Corporation  abruptly terminated company-paid retiree life insurance benefits for over 6000 retirees, including many who are Veterans, and now for the first time has publicly disclosed that its balance sheet improved by $101 Million as the result of ending these long promised retirement benefits.

Harris Corporation cancelled these benefits within months of last year's acquisition of Exelis, Inc., a leading Defense contractor previously spun off from ITT Corp. The injured retirees are 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’s responsibility at the time of the acquisition.

Many of the retirees are in their 70s and 80s and counted on the life insurance payouts as money to pass on to spouses they leave behind and to pay for their own funerals. Harris Corporation has offered substitute life insurance but at a very steep price – meaningless offers to retirees of policies charging annual premiums that can exceed 25% of the face amount of insurance. Retirees surviving more than a few years would pay total premiums far greater than the value of the life insurance!

Retirees already on limited fixed incomes cannot afford the high cost for coverage that until now has been free for retirees. Elderly and in poor health – some are terminally ill – it’s too late to apply for insurance elsewhere. The retirees relied on promises, now broken by Harris Corporation, that they would have the insurance throughout their lives.

Harris Corporation’s Chief Financial Officer, Miguel A. Lopez, announced during Harris Corporation’s Second (Fiscal) Quarter analyst’s conference call on February 2, 2016 that $101 Million of post-employment benefit liabilities had been erased. By removing these liabilities, Harris Corporation improved its balance sheet by over $100 Million. Harris Corporation’s management gave no details of the reduction in liabilities, clearly seeking to avoid public censure for taking away $ millions in life insurance promised elderly retirees and veterans merely to improve their financial profile.

Concerned ITT Retirees ("CITTR"), a group of over 2000 ITT retirees who are opposed to Harris Corporation’s actions, has petitioned the Harris Corporation’s Board of Directors to reverse the cuts and has asked key Government agencies and leaders to investigate Harris Corporation’s questionable actions as a Defense contractor.

Harris Corporation’s management, led by CEO William M Brown, has repeatedly rejected pleas by CITTR and individual retirees to restore the life insurance. Now CITTR has appealed directly to each member of the Harris Corporation Board of Directors to overrule management’s decision and respect the service of the former employees who built the Exelis/ITT Defense business.

Many of the impacted retirees who worked at ITT's defense business and Exelis contributed to the security of our Nation throughout their long careers by their work on numerous military contracts with the Department of Defense. A significant number are also Veterans who, after serving and sacrificing for America, continued to serve through their defense industry employment. Harris Corporation is a leading Defense contractor that is now depriving these retirees and Veterans of benefits they earned and expected – benefits often supported with taxpayers’ dollars. CITTR has appealed to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to audit Harris Corporation’s diversion of defense contract revenues from the purposes for which the government was charged.

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, a Harris Corporation spokesman has told reporters the company is stripping the assets away from the cancelled life insurance benefits and will use the monies for other purposes.

“Harris Corporation has put profits and financial attractiveness to investors above the promises made to the Veterans and retirees who built the Exelis/ITT Defense business,” according to Richard Ward, Chairman of Concerned ITT Retirees. He added, “Harris Corporation must restore these benefits to the Veterans and retirees immediately or face the prospect of legal challenges, government review and public scorn.”

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


Email: ConcernedITTRetirees@gmail.com

Twitter: @ITTRetirees


Concerned ITT Retirees

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