NRLN Catches EEOC Discriminating


Information Contacts:

A. J. (Jim) Norby


Retiree Group Calls on President, Congress

To Overturn ‘Discriminatory’ EEOC Ruling


(WASHINGTON, April 21, 2004) – An organization representing nearly 2 million retirees from many of America’s leading companies charged today that the White House has been silent while the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has passed a rule stripping older retirees of their health care benefits from former employers.

            Jim Norby, president of the National Retirees Legislative Network (NRLN), called on President Bush to stop the implementation of a rule passed on April 22 by the commission.  That rule allows employers to reduce or eliminate retiree health care benefits to Medicare-eligible retirees.

            “More than 12 million retirees on Medicare earned benefits from their former employers through decades of dedicated service,” Norby said.  “Now the executive branch agency created to protect Americans against discrimination has brought this onslaught against our oldest citizens, many of whom are struggling to survive on their fixed incomes.”

The EEOC voted 3-1 to approve a rule stating that such cuts do not violate the civil rights law banning age discrimination. The vote was along party lines with three Republicans lining up in favor of the rule and a Democrat opposing it.

“The welfare of retirees on Medicare is too important to be treated as a political football,” Norby said.  “If the White House doesn’t take immediate action to prevent this rule from taking effect, then Congress should overturn it through legislation.”

According to Norby, the EEOC has usurped Congress’ authority by setting public policy in this manner.  “Medicare was not designed to eliminate employer-sponsored retirement health care benefits.” Norby said, “but it is highly likely this will be the result of this rule.”

“We join AARP and all other organizations outraged over White House insensitivity toward retirees, many who are war veterans, and their attitude that taxpayers should pay the health care bill for corporations. The argument that companies would cancel plans were it not for this rule is self-serving nonsense. Companies can cancel without this discriminatory ruling. The EEOC is a pawn”

       Based in Washington, D.C., NRLN represents nearly 2 million retirees from Association of US WEST Retirees, Association of BellTel Retirees, Association of Prudential Retirees, Association of Raytheon Retirees, Monsanto Retirees Association, along with groups from Xerox, Boeing, GE, GM, IBM, Johns Manville, Lucent, AT&T, Portland Electric (Enron), SNET, Western Union, Continental Tire and others.  .


#     #     #