GE retirees rally for pension benefits

May 18, 2018 11:30 AM

Angelo Santabarbara Sr. worked for GE for more than 30 years. Now retired, he says hits to his pension are taking their toll.

"They cut the insurance off. Now, my wife, she's a little younger than me, when she turns 65 they're gonna cut her insurance," he said. "We want to travel, we want to go to Florida and we cannot do that anymore."

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He and dozens of others are demanding action at a rally outside of the main gate at GE Headquarters in Schenectady. They say the company continues to make money but is taking away benefits from the people who helped earn it.

"These people made the company so wealthy. All this money in the pension fund, we put it in and look what happened," said Santabarbara Sr.

"It comes down to nothing more than corporate greed. We are still seeing profits from the company. They're still paying shareholders and they're taking money away, benefits away, from retirees," said Santabarbara's son, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara from Rotterdam.

Retirees say their biggest concern are changes to their healthcare plan, saying they contribute more out-of-pocket than promised. In a statement released Thursday GE said:

"The changes made to our program in 2015 and 2016 allowed GE to offer greater choice in coverage while striking a balance among our obligations to employees, retirees, and shareowners."

Bruce Duxbury just retired from GE last year after having been employed there for 36 years. For now, he says he's okay -- but worries with the increasing cost of living and cuts in company healthcare contributions, that could change.

"If I'm fortunate enough to last 20 years or whatever, my pension is slowly going to shrink and get smaller and smaller as time goes on," said Duxbury.

"They want to make you suffer when you retire so you might as well keep on working until you die," said Santabarbara Sr.

GE said changes made to pensions in 2015 increased pension amounts to more than 100,000 pensioners and their surviving spouses.

GE has reported a more than $31 billion deficit in its pension plan.

Ralliers say General Electric continues to make money but is taking away benefits from the people who helped earn it. Jacquie Slater's STORY.

Posted by WNYT NewsChannel 13 onThursday, May 17, 2018


Jacquie Slater

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