Last week, there was a Kodak moment that all of the company's employees and retirees could be proud of.
On Tuesday, Eastman Kodak Co., known for its iconic film business, ended a 20 month bankruptcy proceeding with its two pension plans intact. That means the nearly 63,000 people covered by those plans will have a more secure retirement.
When companies seek bankruptcy protection it doesn't automatically mean that plans will be shut down and come to us. During Kodak's bankruptcy, we were on the unsecured creditors committee and we worked with them to ensure the plans would continue.
True, there have been times – far too many – when companies have entered bankruptcy and tried to unnecessarily shed their plans. Not Kodak. The company said they wanted to keep their plans going from the start and we applaud them for doing so.
By keeping its plans Kodak follows American Airlines, supermarket chain Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, better known as A&P, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, which entered Chapter 11 to reorganize and exited with their plans ongoing.
We're here to provide a safety net for people in company pensions that can't continue, but only as a last resort. We always work with companies to help them keep their plans so retirees get all the benefits they earned.
Last year, our efforts kept more than $12 billion in unfunded pension benefits off our books and helped nearly 200,000 stay in their plans.