|MEDIA ADVISORY -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Retirees Plan to Fight Qwest’s Announced Additional Pension Benefit Cuts
The Association of U S West Retirees (AUSWR) today announced plans to rally retirees against the latest round of proposed pension benefit cuts by Denver-based Qwest Communications, International.
Nelson Phelps, AUSWR Executive Director, called for all U S West and Qwest retirees to send letters to Richard C. Notebaert, Qwest CEO and Chairman, in protest of more pension-benefit reductions.
Notebaert, speaking at a Denver retiree meeting October 14, 2006, advised the former U S West and Qwest employees of three new reductions:
No future cost-of-living increases. (The last COL retiree increase was in 1996).
Post 1990 retirees will pay all increased costs for health care insurance starting January 1, 2007. Bargained-for employees such as those covered by union contracts with IBEW and CWA are exempt from this increase.
Life insurance will be capped for all retirees at $10,000. (At retirement employees were promised the equivalent of one-year’s annual salary in life insurance. Now most of the retirees are too old or too ill to buy low-cost life insurance).
“How much [are] you personally willing to save the corporation as you were asking all of us to do through a reduction in your supplemental benefit package and other perks?, “ Phelps asked in an open letter to Notebaert that was shared with all retirees. Phelps noted that neither Qwest nor its predecessors including U S West have paid any corporate funds into the self-sustaining pension plan fund since 1986.
Phelps reflected on the Notebaert presentation as “stressing technology and competition but gave little recognition to the people that carry it out.”
“You and other senior executives of Qwest are unwilling to share the same financial burden that you have imposed upon me, my spouse, and fellow retirees,” Phelps ended in his letter to Notebaert.
Phelps also promised retirees that Curtis L. Kennedy, the Denver-based AUSWR Litigation Attorney, would “be looking at all possible legal avenues” against the planned Qwest retiree pension-benefit cuts.
ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION OF U S WEST RETIREES:
AUSWR is a non-profit affiliation of more than 20,000 retirees of the former Bell companies, aka “Baby Bells:” Mountain Bell, Northwestern Bell and Pacific Northwest Bell. Formed in the 1990s to respond to the pension and benefits protection needs of the retirees of U S West and Qwest in the 14-states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
SOURCE: Association of U S West Retirees