"If there's people retired that are not on Medicare I think they're going to be in for a pretty good shock," says Kodak retiree Bill Andrews.
He got the news about the elimination of retiree benefits from News 8. That's what's shocking to many. How retirees heard the news, "to have it released publicly without any communication prior to that with the retirees is the shocking part," says Eastman Kodak Retiree Association President Art Roberts.
Kodak says under the proposed agreement reached in bankruptcy court with the Official Committee of Retirees, medical, dental, life insurance and survivor benefits will be terminated on December 31st.
The judge still has the final say.
Roberts says it's a good deal for Kodak, but a bad deal for retirees, "it's a good thing for Kodak, they get 1.2 billion dollars in cost of their books, and obviously they need that kind of money in order to survive the bankruptcy"
Financial analyst George Conboy, of Brighton Securities, says it's not a great deal but it's probably the best retirees could have hoped for from a sinking company, "this settlement allows Kodak to get out of that $1.2 billion dollar cost for about $200 or $250 million dollars once the dust is settled."
Kodak is offering money to retirees in exchange for the elimination of their benefits, but how much they'll get is not certain, "Kodak is giving $7.5 million dollars in cash," says Conboy, "and a bankruptcy claim that appears to be worth about $650 million dollars but in reality will likely be worth $150 to $200 million dollars once the bankruptcy is finished."
Kodak retiree pensions will not be impacted by the change.
Kodak says it will save about $10 million dollars a month in the long run by not paying retiree benefits.