Article 43


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The cost of COBRA

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act - COBRA - gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events. Qualified individuals may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102 percent of the cost to the plan.

For us layed off AT&T workers, the 2005 cost to continue our benefits under COBRA is about $450 single coverage, $1150 family coverage - monthly.

Click HERE for the COBRA Insurance website.

Posted by Elvis on 01/04/05 •
Section Dealing with Layoff
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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Rumor Mill - Merger

Rumor has it AT&T and Verizon will merge early next year.

Posted by Elvis on 11/30/04 •
Section General Reading
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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Loyalty Confusion

I’m a baby boomer, who was downsized from a long, rewarding career at AT&T, watching it’s corporate culture change dramatically of late, who has a good 20 years working time left.  I’m struggling where to put personal work values and ethics against the reality of today’s corporate climate, and needing to pay the mortgage every month.

Older folks like me commit ourselves 100% to a company, giving them our loyalty and the best of ourselves, motivated to climb the corporate ladder by doing a good job - in return expecting a decent salary and longevity.

It ain’t like that anymore. To companies, the bottom line is the dollar, nothing else, and today’s younger generation has adopted to this reality. A GenX-er gets a job, learns what he/she can from it, then moves on to another company.  Loyalty and commitment aren’t worth as much - and the business models of today (increased outsourcing) discourages this attitude.

Finding a full time job that pays reasonably well has proven nearly impossible, so I signed a contract with a rent-a-tech company, which I’m learning means jumping from job to job with little to no benefits and crappy pay. 

New motivations need to be found.  What are they?

Related Articles

Posted by Elvis on 11/23/04 •
Section Dealing with Layoff • Section Personal
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Thursday, November 18, 2004

An Open Plea to Labor Unions

The 2004 Presidential election is over. Unions backed Kerry. Kerry Lost. So what are they going to do now?

The Labor Unions donated more than $40,000,000 to the Kerry Campaign and Kerry lost the election. My first question is were you backing the right candidate? My second question is why were you spending money from Union Dues on a Presidential Election? My third question is why didn’t you spend the $40,000,000 on a campaign to bring jobs to the US instead of trying to defeat a sitting president and backing a loosing Presidential Candidate?

Now that the 2004 election is over, are the labor unions going to go back to sleep until 2008? Are the unions going to work with President Bush to affect US policy in favor of the American Worker?

If Unions had millions of dollars to back a Presidential candidate why don’t they spend millions of dollars on AD campaigns targeting large companies like IBM or Dell who outsource our jobs? Why aren’t they exposing companies like Sears who claims their tools are made in America, but all their power tools are made in China? These companies are the real enemy of the American worker. Presidents to NOT hire or fire workers, companies do.

Why didn’t the labor unions use their financial clout to lobby the American people? Why didn’t they buy Ads encouraging Americans to stop buying products from any company that relocates jobs from America to a foreign country?

In closing, the “Look for the Union Label” song in the 60’s was catchy, but most Americans didn’t get it. Unions had no problem spending millions of union dollars putting on ads to tear down a Presidential candidate, why didn’t they use their clout to expose corporate greed and tear down companies that outsource jobs?

The people have the power to change their purchasing habits. Lets get “MAD as hell” at one company at a time until all US companies hear us! Lets declare war on companies that outsource jobs or close manufacturing plants in America to relocate them off shore.

It is time for Unions to think and act outside the BOX.

Credit: American Job Blog
Source Link

Posted by Elvis on 11/18/04 •
Section General Reading
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401K Choices after Layoff

Four Choices for You and Your Nest Egg

Published: October 29, 2004

By Jacqueline Fearer

While Chuck Yoke was in a hastily called office meeting a few years ago, a crew of professional terminators, along with members of his own staff, disconnected his phone, deleted his computer accounts, and deactivated his security access.

Back at his desk, he found a severance package and just enough boxes to hold his personal belongings. Before he left the building, his corporate credit card, employee identification badge, and laptop computer were seized.

While walking to his car, he remembers thinking that his calls and e-mails would remain unanswered—and that his 401(k) would never be fully vested.

“I felt depersonalized,” says the 46-year-old Denver information systems manager who, under the terms of his severance agreement, can’t identify the technology company that laid him off. “I’d had a sense that it was coming, but believe me, you can’t prepare yourself for the humbling, humiliating reality of being pulled into a room and confronted with an apologetic human resources representative who has been flown in to lay you off. It was a real blow to my ego.”

Although Mr. Yoke found another job within a month, he says it took some time to get over the shock of being considered “non-essential” by his employer. It could happen to you.

When leaving a company—voluntarily or not—you need to make decisions about your health, life, and disability insurance. But you also need to decide what to do with any vested assets accumulated in your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b), or 457.

Oftentimes, employees receive little information from their former employers regarding their 401(k) distribution options—or the tax consequences associated with those options.

Employees, therefore, don’t know that they may have been able to leave the assets in their former employer’s plan, and they often have to seek advice from another source on where to put their money.

“Companies need to be proactive in providing information and education to their employees—at least enough to help employees feel confident that they’re making the right decisions,” says Steve Deschenes, executive vice president of Fidelity Investments Institutional Service Company.

Roberta Chinsky-Matuson, founder of Human Resource Solutions, a Massachusetts-based independent human resources consultant, advises her clients to always be prepared for their lives to take an unexpected turn.

“Take a look at where your money is going, and see if there are areas where you can cut back. Then tighten your belt and start to save more,” Ms. Chinsky-Matuson says. “That will help put you in a much stronger financial position to weather emergency situations or layoffs.”

If your employer were to cut you loose tomorrow, what would you do with your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan?

Depending on your age, the amount of money in your plan, and your long-term goals, you generally have four choices:

Leave the money where it is. Your employer’s plan may allow you to leave your vested 401(k) savings in the plan, provided you meet a minimum balance requirement—typically $5,000 in current 401(k) contributions; assets rolled over are not eligible.

Roll over assets to your new employer’s plan. After you land a new job, you can generally transfer your vested 401(k) balance from your previous employer’s plan to your new employer’s plan.

Roll over your assets to an IRA. Why would you choose an IRA over another employer’s 401(k)? One reason may be that IRAs typically offer a broader range of investments as well as more control over your assets.

Take a cash distribution. Unless you truly need the money to meet living expenses, cashing out your retirement plan usually is your last choice. In addition to forfeiting the benefits of tax-deferred growth, the IRS requires your former company’s plan administrator to withhold 20% for taxes from your total distribution.

Immediately after his fateful meeting with human resources, Chuck Yoke recalls being acutely aware that he was no longer in control.

“People I didn’t even know had made important decisions about crucial aspects of my life,” Mr. Yoke recalls.

But there are ways to cushion the blow. And there are things that can be kept safe from anyone else’s influence—such as what you ultimately do with your retirement savings. By making a few simple and sensible decisions over the course of your career, you just might prevent an unexpected job loss from becoming a life-altering experience.

Jacqueline Fearer writes for Fidelity and is a frequent contributor to publications available to Fidelity customers. E-mail any questions or comments to Investor’s Weekly at

Credit: Fidelity Investments

Posted by Elvis on 11/18/04 •
Section Dealing with Layoff
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In memory of the layed off workers of AT&T

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