Lucent Technologies cuts health benefits for 5,400 retirees; second round in a year

Tuesday, September 21st 2004, 2:08 pm
By: News On 6

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Lucent Technologies Inc. announced Tuesday it would cut health benefits for the spouses and children of 5,400 management retirees in the second round of such cuts in a year.

The telecommunications equipment maker said it will no longer pay for health insurance for about 7,400 dependents of former managers who retired on or after March 1, 1990, at a salary of $65,000 or more. The change takes place Jan. 1.

``These are not decisions that we want to make, but we have no choice,'' Lucent spokesman Bill Price said.

Thousands of those affected retired in their 50s and early 60s when they accepted buyout packages as the company struggled amid an industry slump and slashed about three-fourths of its work force.

``We're astounded that the Lucent executives would continue to take benefits away from dependents of retirees,'' said Ed Beltram, spokesman for the Lucent Retirees Organization.

In September, 2003, Murray Hill-based Lucent announced it would cut the same benefits for managers who retired during the same period at a base salary of at least $87,000. It affected about 9,000 dependents of 7,300 retirees.