Article 43

 

Sunday, April 24, 2005

HR1322

Here are excerpts from a press release from National Retiree Legistlative Network (NLRN).  They are endorsing the re-introduction of bill HR 1322, which would prohibit employers from cancelling or reducing retirees health benefits.

“Senior citizens should not be forced to dip into their life savings in order to make up for cut or cancelled benefits,” according to the bill’s sponsor, Congressman John F. Tierney.

“The bill would reverse this trend by requiring employers to live up to the promises that they made to those who dedicated their lives to building these companies.  I am pleased to reintroduce this bill and look forward to once again working with the National Retiree Legislative Network on this important piece of legislation,” Congressman Tierney said.

This bill will probably not pass in the republican controlled Congress, but can be kept alive until political tides change.  It also gives us an opportunity to re-inforce our stand.

Contact your reps.  Tell them to support HR 1322 to help enormous numbers of retirees avoid becoming dependent on federal help for health care.  They must force corporations to keep the promises they made.

More info:
[url=http://www.nrln.org/Questions]http://www.nrln.org/Questions and Answers.htm[/url]

[url=http://www.att-retirees.org]http://www.att-retirees.org[/url]

Credit: pension_watchdog

Posted by Elvis on 04/24/05 •
Section Pension Ripoff
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Thursday, April 21, 2005

SBC Hiring of Layed Off AT&T Workers

Layed off AT&T workers may have a shot at SBC jobs.

Through the efforts of [CWA] President Bahr in discussions with SBC CEO Ed Whitacre, CWA has been successful in obtaining priority hiring for our AT&T members who have been laid-off since the announcement of the AT&T/SBC merger. Through President Bahr’s diligence, as vacancies occur within SBC and hiring off the street would take place, laid-off AT&T members who qualify, would be given priority treatment to those job vacancies. The attached agreement will last for two years beyond the date of the merger. CWA will work with SBC to ensure that as vacancies occur we can direct interested AT&T members to the locations of the jobs.

As the failed strategy to exit the consumer business unravels, it’s clear, reducing head count is AT&T’s only concern, regardless of the impact to the business or the customer. As AT&T continues to outsource jobs overseas and use management subcontractors to do our work, we will continue to see lay-offs as the merger moves forward. The only person with job protection in this merger is the CEO of AT&T. It’s sad that SBC has more concern for our AT&T members than AT&T.

As this merger moves forward, CWA is voicing concerns regarding the continued downsizing of our AT&T members to the various State PUC’s, as they open hearings on the merger question. CWA has filed as an intervener, in the States of California, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas and anticipates more filings as individual States move forward with hearings over the potential merger.

Job List:
http://www.cwa-comtech.org/uploads/sbctermtemp.pdf

Source:
http://www.cwa-comtech.org/barg_mobe/article.asp?article=1378

Posted by Elvis on 04/21/05 •
Section Job Hunt
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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

New Retiree Cash Balance Website

ACE Corp (AT&T Concerned Employees) is now ACER (AT&T Concerned Employees and Retirees). 

These days there are a lot more retirees, and a lot of them just figured out how badly they’ve been ripped off! 

The website below is still under construction, but can provide one-stop shopping for cash balance pension concerns. 

[url=http://www.att-retirees.org]http://www.att-retirees.org[/url]

Credit: pension_watchdog

Posted by Elvis on 04/19/05 •
Section Pension Ripoff
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Sunday, April 03, 2005

Supreme Court: Age bias need not be deliberate

The Supreme Court made it easier Wednesday for any worker over 40 to allege age discrimination, ruling that employers can be held liable even if they never intended any harm.

About 75 million people—roughly half the nation’s work force—are covered by the decision. However, the ruling makes it clear that older workers will have a high threshold to prove their claims.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that in some cases employers are within their rights to treat workers differently because of age.

“Age ... not uncommonly has relevance to an individual’s capacity to engage in certain types of employment,” wrote Stevens, who at 84 is the court’s oldest member.

The ruling sides with older police officers in Jackson, Mississippi, in saying they do not have to prove that the city deliberately tried to discriminate against them, just that the policies disproportionately harmed them. Nevertheless, the high court dismissed the suit, saying officers did not demonstrate that.

The ruling means that older workers now have less of a burden to raise their claim in court when suing under federal law, although ultimately it may still be hard for them to win.

The decision was unanimous in dismissing the police officers’ suit, but 5-3 in holding that such suits are permitted under age-discrimination laws. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist did not participate in the decision, which was heard in November when he was being treated for thyroid cancer.

The Supreme Court already has said the so-called disparate impact claims are allowed under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sex, religion or race. On Wednesday, justices said it should be no different for age discrimination, although it ruled the scope of liability is narrower.

At issue was workplace polices that appear neutral but actually disproportionately hurt older workers. Advocates for the aging say few employers would ever be up front about intentionally favoring younger workers, making age bias claims hard to win absent the rare “smoking gun.

But employers say allowing disparate impact claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act would hinder their ability to make necessary decisions based on age-neutral factors, such as training or performance, even if the impact happens to be greater on older workers.

The ruling in some ways strikes a compromise between the two. On the one hand, it allows older workers to make a disparate impact claim under the ADEA regardless of intent; but at the same time, it permits an employer to cite “reasonable” factors, such as cost-cutting, to justify a practice that penalizes older workers so it prevails at trial.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor agreed that the police officers’ suit should be dismissed but argued that ADEA bars disparate impact claims. She said Congress never intended such lawsuits because employers should have flexibility to make business decisions that might unintentionally hurt older workers.

Because older workers tend to be longtime employees with higher pay and more benefits, a business might inadvertently violate the law when it cuts expenses, even if no ill intent was involved, O’Connor noted. Her concurrence was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

“There often is a correlation between an individual’s age and her ability to perform her job,” O’Connor wrote. “That is to be expected, for physical ability generally declines with age, and in some cases, so does mental capacity.”

Currently, there are more than 70 million workers who are age 40 or older, and the number is growing. The federal government predicts that by 2010, more than half of all workers will be 40 or older.

Despite the aging trend, lawyers say employers often have economic incentives to weed out older workers. That’s because longtime employees may have higher medical bills and have locked in more expensive salary and benefit agreements.

In the Mississippi case, 30 officers and dispatchers sued over a pay performance plan they said gave substantially larger pay raises to employees with five or fewer years of tenure; as a result, that had an unfavorable impact on employees 40 and over.

The lower courts threw out the suit, reasoning that disparate impact claims were barred.

In its ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Court said that while police officers can get into court to show unfavorable impact, they failed to do so here. It said the city’s explanation that it was trying to make salaries for junior officers more competitive with similar positions was “reasonable.”

“The city’s decision to grant a larger raise to lower echelon employees for the purpose of bringing salaries in line with that of surrounding police forces was a decision based on a ‘reasonable factor other than age’ that responded to the city’s legitimate goal of retaining police officers,” Stevens wrote.

Federal appeals courts previously were sharply divided over whether the 1967 age bias law permits impact suits. Legal experts have said workers making age bias claims generally win their lawsuits less than one-third of the time.

The case is Smith v. City of Jackson, 03-1160.

SOURCE

Credit: pension_watchdog

Posted by Elvis on 04/03/05 •
Section General Reading • Section Pension Ripoff
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