Janice Winston

Philadelphia, PA

But my concern is that healthcare is not protected as pensions are. We have ERISA law that protects pensions.  We don’t have anything that protects our healthcare.  And my concern is that, when I came to work for Verizon, which was Bell Pennsylvania in 1973, I was given a salary and a compensation package.  And I was told that these were going to be my benefits and that I would have benefits at retirement, which would include healthcare.  And I worked for 29 years under the premise that that was part of my salary.  My loaded labor rate included my benefits.  And to have my benefits cut after the fact would say that I did not work for all the money that I was supposed to get during my entire career.  So I believe that our healthcare benefits must be protected, because that’s what people worked for when they first came for companies; that’s what they were promised.  And that promise should not be reneged on later on in life.

If that’s what companies are getting their employees to come in through the door, incenting them to come work for a company, telling them they will have retiree healthcare benefits, then that should certainly be just as protected as pensions. 

Just having a healthcare benefits taken away from them, with no other recourse, no safety net, nothing…. And we need [H.R.] 1322.  The country needs 1322.  We have a healthcare crisis on our hands and the retirees of companies can be lifted out of that crisis.  And that will give more to the people who actually need it and the government can assist those people.  Corporations need to keep their promises to their employees.