Verizon's latest Christmas present
Verizon announced recently that it was ending contributions to the pension plans of nearly 50,000 management employees, and reducing health care benefits for current and future retirees. Employees will be forced to depend on highly unreliable 401(k) plans to fund their retirements.
Executive management was not affected by this announcement. Verizon's 2005 proxy statement shows that Verizon has set aside over $40 million in pension funding for its five highest paid executives, and will continue to fund their accounts. In addition, Irving Seidenberg, Verion's CEO, received over $11.5 million in salary and bonuses in 2004. He is not required to fund his own 401(k) plan, apparently.
Having watched half of my 401(k) balance evaporate in six months after AT&T bought my employer (MediaOne) in 2000, I can't say that I blame Verizon employees for being skeptical about the motives of their employer.
By the way, Bill O'Reilly says Merry Christmas!