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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Another "Given" Bites the Dust: PENSIONS

If you are a young to middle-age employee of Verizon, and a manager with the company, you just lost your pension benefits and might be wondering about the future of your retirement. “Verizon to cut managers’ pensions,” is a recent article on C/Net that seems to be predicting the future of corporate pension plans. And, Verizon is in completely sound financial condition.

The second largest telecommunications provider says the move will affect about 50,000 managers out of their 215,000 employees. Verizon’s Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg says the action will enhance their ability to compete. They are also currently in the process of acquiring the long-distance carrier, MCI, so we see where the priority is.

I’m not faulting Verizon, nor am I justifying what they did. Other companies are doing it or are looking at the possibility. An Associated Press article on, “Companies look to freeze pensions,” reports that last year, 71 of the nation’s biggest firms froze or terminated pension plans, a 58 percent increase over 2003. In Verizon’s case, there are also cuts in retiree health care benefits.

The Newsday article states that Verizon tried to make the same move ten years ago, and the recent step has left several workers understandably angry and afraid. Continuing, it states that Sears, NCR, Circuit City and a division of Abbott laboratories have frozen pension plans for some or all employees and Hewlett-Packard said this past July it would do the same for some workers.

Scott Cohn, in his article on MSNBC, “Are pension promises a thing of the past?” is asking a very provocative question. He quotes a Motorola employee who lost a part of his pension as saying, “I got screwed.” Cohn goes on to add the troubled airline industry to the list of companies cutting retirement benefits. Not looking good for those of you that plan to take it easy in your golden years.

Which brings me back to my original premise: the solution is to pass federal legislation that will give consumers control over their names and personal data and pay them for its use. A double-barrel advantage of preventing ID theft and supplementing your retirement by $607 per month.

The junk mail industry alone grosses over $4 billion annually on your name and private information. Folks, this is year after year after year and growing with each new tidbit of information added to your dossier. And this doesn’t even include the non-junk mail companies, like the pharmaceutical industry, who have gotten into the business of selling your data.

The other benefit of having control over your name and personal data is that you can prevent the possibility of identity theft. You have the right to opt-in—not have to opt-out—to all uses of this data in a system of checks and balances that is both simplified and effective. For once, you can be assured that when your name and private information are being used, they are completely secure.

I’ve never done this before but here is my e-mail address: Just click on it and send me a quick message with your thoughts, suggestions, comments or even criticisms. I will use your input to help convince Congressional leaders to pass this important federal legislation. Any reference to your message will remain completely anonymous and your name and e-mail address will never be sold or shared; you have my word.

1 comment:

Blue Cross of California said...

It's unfortunate to see the health care cuts in verizons retirees.