On January 28, 2011 I received a notice of the funding status of the
Northwest Airlines Pension Plan for Contract Employees (the Plan) from Delta
Airlines. You could also call it the obfuscation report. The only pertinent
data in it was the amount of money in the fund at the start of the year,
Oct.1, 2009, and the amount at the end of the year, Sep.30, 2010.
On December 15, 2010 I received a Summary Annual Report for
1. Delta Family-Care Savings Plan,
2. Northwest Airlines Retirement Savings Plan for Salaried Employees,
3. Northwest Airlines, Inc. Group Medical Plan from Delta Airlines,
none of which pertained to me. In this report all of the necessary
information was included, amount of money in the fund at the beginning of the
year, amount of money at the end of the year, plan expenses, plan earnings, plan
losses, employer contributions and benefits paid to retirees. All of this
information, the likes of which, was completely omitted from the Northwest
Airlines Pension Plan for Contract Employees.
I wrote a letter to Mr. Robert Kight, Vice President-Compensation, Benefits, and Services asking him why the very basic Plan information was not included in the funding status report for the Contract Employees Plan. I never received a reply from Mr. Kight.
I did some research for the missing information and thought that the honorable here might like to read what I found.
You can find everything printed here in Deltanet Employee Connection (found on drop down from employee information), Retirement Pre-merger Northwest Pension Plans 5500 for PYE 9.30.09. 61 Pages
Covered employees are all contract employee groups in this particular defined pension plan. Page 15 of 61. Benefit levels for various groups Page 18 of 61.
This defined pension fund (the Plan) is commingled with the investments of three other Defined Benefit Pension Plans sponsored by the company, in the Master Trust. Investment gains (losses) and expenses are allocated to the Plan upon its pro rata share in the net assets of the Master Trust. The Northwest Airlines Pension Plan for Contract Employees is approximately forty percent of the Master Trust. Page 49 of 61. The Contract Employees share of the Master Trust assets are $1,665,979,000. The Master Trust, all pension assets are, $4,146,038,000. Page 53 of 61. Dated 2009.
Contributions- Northwest airlines elected the alternative funding schedule for the Plan under section 402 (a)(1) under the Pension Protection Act of 2006. (The seventeen year plan passed by Congress allowing Airlines to adjust funding of frozen Defined Pension Plans). The company's funding policy is to contribute at least the amounts necessary to meet minimum funding requirements of ERISA. The company has met the minimum requirements ($69,417,036 per year) for the years ending in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Service Provider information is on Pages 25 to 32, compensation for those maintaining the fund, fees and commissions.
Net investment loss from the Northwest Airline Pension Plan for Contract Employees portion of the Master Trust was $31,409,821. Expenses were $194,155,483 (benefits paid). Contribution from Delta Airlines was $77,621,712. Administration expenses were $17,035,079. The Plan had a net loss of $164,978,671 (amount of money in the plan at the start of the year and amount at the end of the year). Plan year 10/01/2008 to 09/30/2009. Page 39
None of the figures jive for the present value of the Plan as of September 30, 2010 in the funding status report of the Northwest Airline Pension Plan for Contract Employees, (Oct. 1, 2009 to Sep. 30, 2010) and the schedule H (form 5500) Financial Information, Page 37, because of missing information for the period and apparently different assumptions on the methodology for determining the Plan asset values, Plan market values.
In the Audit, page 46, year ended Sept. 30, 2009, assets $1,738,184,000. employer contribution $77,622,000. net investment loss $31,410,000. PBGC premiums $13,630,000. administration expenses 3,405,000. benefits paid $194,155,000.
So, for the past three years the company has met the minimum contribution to the Plan as required by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, (2008-2009-2010). And the Plan assets continue to shrink. There is a lot of interesting information in the 5500 for PYE 9.30.09, all 61 pages. Perhaps next year Delta Airlines will send us a brief summary of the Plan (Northwest Airlines Pension Plan for Contract Employees) including benefits paid to retirees, Plan expenses, Plan
investment gains (loses) and Plan contributions from Delta, Plan assets at the beginning of the Plan year and Plan assets at the end of the plan year.