231 Pinetuck Lane Winston-Salem, NC 27104 Phone: 336-765-9765
July 14, 2004
The Honorable George
Dear President Bush:
RETIREES IN AMERICA ARE IN TROUBLE! During the coming months leading up to Election Day on November 2, there will be speeches and debates on many issues. On behalf of the Lucent Retirees Organization that embodies the interests of 235,000 retirees and their dependents, I want to encourage you to speak out during the campaign on the need for America’s corporations to fulfill the promises they have made to their retirees.
How can retirees not think our political leaders have abandoned us when we read almost daily that companies have reneged on their committed pensions and benefits? How can retirees not wonder who is looking out for us when our healthcare benefits are eliminated while executives draw colossal salaries and bonuses for mediocre performance? Why won’t corporate executives recognize that pension and health care trust funds are essentially the retirees’ money and full disclosure must be provided?
You must be aware of the numerous misfortunes that have befallen retirees during the past few years. A Lucent retiree recently compiled a list of corporate scandals, pension plan failures, reductions in healthcare benefits, and the gloomy outlook for retirees. I am sharing this list with you in the hope that it will be a reminder of the need for leadership by our nation’s political leaders.
What legislation and regulatory changes will you advocate to protect retirees now that everyone knows the ones in place are woefully inadequate? Now that we have seen the devastation suffered by retirees at the hands of corporate America, what will be done to restore retirees’ faith in the once-held belief that if you spend 30 to 40 years making a company successful you will be provided for in your golden years?
Our political leaders need to face the fact that if they do not force a new morality on the executives of America’s corporations, this nation is going to have a new underclass –the “poor disenfranchised retirees.” I hope you will use the political discourse destined to take place in the next few months to focus on what must be done to safeguard pensions and healthcare benefits for America’s retirees.
The LRO is requesting that you provide a response on how you intend to help America’s retirees. This letter and your response will be made available to millions of retirees through the LRO website and by sharing it with many other retiree organizations for posting on their websites.
Copy to: AARP and National Retiree Legislative Network