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Retirees Picket for Health Care

Retirees from the Communications Workers of America and their friends are not planning to lie down while negotiators for Lucent Technologies in Washington DC raise their monthly health care costs $200 to $700/month. In East Dallas, on October 26, a gang of them descended on a telephone facility at 4300 Bryan to make it known that they are ready for a fight.

Retiree leader Larry Laznovsky assembled the group at CWA 6215's hall, 1408 N. Washington, at 11 AM. He told them that Lucent is trying to force the dramatic increases onto retirees with the argument that they only employ 1 active worker for every 4 retirees on their pension and health program. They do not mention that they dramatically downsized their workforce as productivity increased so much that one worker probably produces far more wealth than 4 could formerly. Lucent also sold a big manufacturing facility in Dallas to Tyco industries, which shipped the jobs to Mexico and left 4,000 North Texas workers wondering what hit them.

Through contract negotiations, Lucent employees deferred part of their income so that they could enjoy it later as health care and pensions. Lucent management, like many other big corporations, is now trying to treat that deferred income as if it were part of the company's cash flow, not money held in trust for the retired workers. Variations on this bloody scenario are taking place in workplaces all over America. The CWA retirees, though, aren't going to stand for it!

Marlene McCurry is one of the retirees that Lucent is hoping to rob

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