General Electric must restore Retiree Pension Benefits

ASSEMBLYMAN ANGELO SANTABARBARA

Times-Union

This week I joined hundreds of IUE-CWA Local 301 union members and hundreds of General Electric retirees at the company’s main gate in Schenectady to demand the pension benefits they were promised at retirement.

On January 1st of this year thousands of retirees from the company, employees and their eligible dependents can no longer use their post-65 retiree health plans from the company that they were initially promised. GE justified the change by saying it was on trend with what other large corporations have in place and it will also save the company $3.3 billion.

This is simply unacceptable! The hardworking men and women who dedicated decades of their lives to this company deserve nothing less than the full restoration of the pension benefits they are entitled to. General Electric made not only a commitment, but a promise to retirees, a promise that many have planned their futures around.

The unfair change is having a devastating impact for far too many. It has put a heavy burden on retirees, who are facing higher health care premiums and prescription costs.

It is wrong and unfair for General Electric to promise one thing and then do another. The company continues to show profits and pay share holders. To justify their actions by saying it’s consistent with what other companies are doing adds insult to injury. GE may be an industry leader in many aspects – except when it comes to benefits for their hardworking retirees. And there are employees that still work for the company that will be also retired someday knowing that General Electric can do this again to future retirees.

The thousands of retirees, including my father who retired after working 30 years for the company, have put in years of hard work and shown immense dedication to the company and General Electric should show that same dedication to retirees when they need it the most.

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