Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Shuttle’s End Leaves NASA a Pension Bill

The New York Times  June 14, 2011

The nation’s space agency plans to spend about half a billion dollars next year to replenish the pension fund of the contractor that has supplied thousands of workers to the space shuttle program.

The shuttle program accounts for a vast majority of the business of United Space Alliance, originally a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. With the demise of the shuttle program, United Space Alliance will be left without a source of revenue to keep its pension plan afloat. So the company wants to terminate its family of pension plans, covering 11,000 workers and retirees, and continue as a smaller, nimbler concern to compete for other contracts.

Normally, a company that lost a lifeblood contract would have little choice but to declare bankruptcy and ask the federal insurer, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, to take over its pensions. But that insurer limits benefits, meaning not everyone gets as much as they had been promised. United Space Alliance’s plan also allows participants to take their pensions as a single check and includes retiree health benefits, neither of which would be permitted by the pension insurer.

United Space Alliance, however, has a rare pledge from a different government agency to pay the bill. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says in its contract with the company that it will cover its pension costs “to the extent they are otherwise allowable, allocable and reasonable.” NASA interprets this to include the cost of terminating its pension plans outside of bankruptcy.

Please read the entire story at The New York Times

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Follow the Money | , , , | Leave a comment

Taxpayers On the Hook for Retiree Costs for Federal Contractors

Fox Business  Friday June 10, 2011

A surprising new government report shows that taxpayers have been footing the bill for retiree benefits not just for federal workers, but for independent freelance contractors who do work for the government as well. 

And no one is watching the store to see if your tax dollars are being wasted.

Taxpayers for years have been covering private contractors’ retiree costs for things like pensions and health care, even though these workers are not on the federal payroll.

Taxpayers also cover these retiree costs for contractors’ spouses, too, and in some cases if contractors want to retire early (at age 50), just like regular federal workers, many can then get taxpayer-funded coverage, says an official at the Government Accountability office.

For the Department of Energy alone, overall this coverage cost taxpayers $6.8 billion over the last 10 years, according to the new GAO report recently sent to Congress. Nine out of ten  dollars spent on the DOE’s annual budget goes towards contracts, including contractor retiree benefits.

Please read the entire story here

June 10, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Government Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment