Apr 24, 2014
Ray Kramer, president of the D6 Retired Members Council, leads the call for fairness for retirees.
Below: CWAers from throughout D6 join the Dallas rally.
More than 700 CWA and other retiree activists took a stand for retiree health care benefits at a demonstration outside AT&T headquarters in Dallas.
In the U.S., retired workers face a crisis in health care coverage. Almost no U.S. companies provide any level of retiree health care benefits. That means workers who retire before age 65 are basically on their own when it comes to continuing health care coverage for themselves and their families. Starting at age 65, Americans enroll in Medicare but still face costs and out-of-pocket payments.
Retirees from companies with union representation are better off but legally companies are not required to bargain over retiree health care. That's why it's critical that retired union activists, like CWA's retired members at AT&T, are speaking up and taking a stand for health care for all.
At the rally, CWAers from St Louis and Kansas City, Mo.; Wichita, Kans.; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Beaumont, Houston, Ft Worth, Austin and San Antonio, Tex., along with CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings and Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller told AT&T it was time to stop shifting more health care costs to retirees.
Ray Kramer, president of the D6 Retired Members Council, rallied the activists, and stressed that "we have to fight back" to keep the benefits we won over the years. He reminded the crowd that "we are not alone, and that in many other places, at this same time, CWAers are standing up for what's right."
At the end of the rally, Local 4250 retired President Steve Tisza delivered petitions signed by more than 12,600 retirees to AT&T's Vice President of Labor Relations Mark Royse, calling for fair treatment of retirees.