Big Business and Unions Come Together to Screw Retirees

It all happened so quietly and so quickly.  And, then there was a front page New York Times column declaring (without fanfare) "Many Retirees May Lose Benefits From Employers." Most friends I talked with didn't even bother reading the column. But, this is big news and it is very bad news.  Behind the scenes (with AARP staying suspiciously quiet as well), big business and the unions completely sold out retirees over 65.  Worse than that, the whole thing was done by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) whose role it is – or was – to protect the rights of those who could be discriminated against.   But, the EEOC wasn’t too worried about their role when they passed a federal ruling granting employers an exemption from age discrimination law. The result of so doing was to put at imminent risk the health benefits of retirees and their spouses and dependents.

One can only imagine the huge sums of money and special deals that changed hands to bring this about. It is one of the great scams of our time – and the first to be directed against a large and defenseless group of Americans. In an aging society with an ever growing older population, this is an amazing act.  In an era of great concern about healthcare benefits, this is even more startling. But, most of all, it is just unfair.

And, the groups behind all this are the auto companies and other big companies struggling under the weight of their benefit programs and looking for ways to cut these costs. Focusing in such instances on retirees is an old ploy, primarily because retirees are the weakest and most vulnerable group of employees.  And, this time, the unions were bought off as well (one can only imagine what promises they were given) and went along with the bosses.  The result is to screw retirees out of promises made a long time ago and on the basis of which they kept their jobs through retirement – expecting to receive "guaranteed" health benefits.

The argument used in the ruling is that retirees over 65 have access to medicare and thus do not need other health insurance. That's really fallacious as most retiree health care benefits (which become secondary to medicare anyway) include coverage for things not now under medicare (dental, drugs, etc.).  In addition, the new EEOC ruling allows employers to reduce or eliminate health benefits provided to spouses and dependents of retirees.  It is all a sham.  It is all a result of lobbying dollars, sleazy backroom deals, and a total disregard of a population, vulnerable and powerless, we will all be part of in due course. Speaking for myself, I am embarrassed to be an American.

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Comments

  • Sam Cass

    December 29, 2007

    Retirees are not defenseless. They vote in high numbers and wield considerable political weight. If the AARP wasn't up in arms about this issue there must be more to it.

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