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SBC betrayed retirees, letter writer contends

To the editor:

Finally, someone has spoken out.

A previous letter writer, Jim Curcuru, described how SBC Communications was taking advantage of its retirees.

Unfortunately it's true.

I, too, am a retiree with two children at home. My medical contributions would have risen 324 percent in two years, but by accepting less coverage and a greater co-pay, I was able to keep it to 200 percent.

Have national health costs risen as quickly? The rise in 2002 for retirees over 65 was 15.1 percent. If projected for two years, we are looking at 32.25 percent.

How did SBC communicate these increases? They pointed out that 65.5 percent of companies surveyed also were raising employee contributions.

Please, don't insult our intelligence. Tell us instead how many were raising contributions 10 times the national rate.

From the time I began working until I retired, employees were told of the benefits that would be theirs upon retirement. Yes, there was always that caveat in fine print that said the company reserves the right to change or even terminate certain benefits.

However, the expectation, reinforced by the company's actions throughout the years, was that medical insurance contributions, if any, would be reasonable and increases would be in line with costs. This expectation was a factor in making the decision to retire.

Now I feel we have been betrayed. What SBC is doing is legal, but is it right?

Are there retirees from other companies who have similar experiences? If so, I'd like to hear about it. Maybe I'd feel better.

Bob Bachmann


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