Protestors gather outside AT&T shareholder meeting in Columbus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Protestors gather outside AT&T shareholder meeting in Columbus

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Protestors marched and chanted outside of an AT&T shareholders meeting Friday morning, April 25, in Columbus, Ga. They were trying to urge company executives to stop shifting healthcare costs onto retirees.

Inside the meeting, the AT&T Board of Directors, along with the Chairman and CEO, were meeting with the company's shareholders.

Retirees who have dedicated their lives to the company, some working there more than 30 years, say AT&T is shifting healthcare costs onto them. Not only can they not afford the rising costs, they say the insurance premiums are more than what their pension pays. 

Communication Workers of America Local 3204, Union President Walter Andrews, said they helped build the company, and throughout history, their pensions have never increased. He also said that as employees, they weren't able to bargain over their pension. There's a pension clause in their contract, and when they retire, the company arbitrarily jacks up their healthcare premiums.

AT&T employee Zorita Harris--whose husband is an AT&T retiree--spoke about the increase in her husband's healthcare coverage.

"Two years ago he paid $24 a month to cover him and our twin sons. Last year, it went up to $330 dollars a month. This year, if he would have kept the same insurance, it would have went up to $450 some dollars a month," said Harris.

AT&T Spokesman Marty Richter says, "We really appreciate our employees, and retirees, and their dedication to the company over the years, and healthcare costs are going up for everyone, so we can understand their concerns."

Richter continues, "The fact is that, AT&T provides some of the best healthcare in the United States, and we subsidize at a rate that's far greater than the vast majority of other companies. In fact, we're one of only 28 percent of employers that provide any sort of retiree healthcare. We pay between 70 and 80 percent of the total cost of their healthcare."

Civil Rights Activist Reverend Jessie Jackson was in Columbus, and met with the AT&T Chairman before the shareholders meeting. They discussed a number of issues, including rising healthcare costs. Several high ranking AT&T officials agreed to continue meeting with Reverend Jackson about the issues.

This was Jackson's second stop in Columbus this week. He met with shareholders from Synovus Thursday as a part of a nationwide agenda.

Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.

  • LocalMore>>

  • WHINSEC hosts Women, Peace, and Security Symposium

    WHINSEC hosts Women, Peace, and Security Symposium

    Thursday, March 30 2017 2:10 PM EDT2017-03-30 18:10:07 GMT
    (Source: Denise Mosley/WTVM)(Source: Denise Mosley/WTVM)

    The role and importance of women in peace and security is the subject of a symposium hosted by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning Thursday.

    More >>

    The role and importance of women in peace and security is the subject of a symposium hosted by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning Thursday.

    More >>
  • Georgia Southwestern nursing professor to deploy to Afghanistan

    Georgia Southwestern nursing professor to deploy to Afghanistan

    Thursday, March 30 2017 3:08 PM EDT2017-03-30 19:08:37 GMT
    Romona Mulleins-Foreman, N.D.P. (Source: Georgia Southwestern State University)Romona Mulleins-Foreman, N.D.P. (Source: Georgia Southwestern State University)

    A Georgia Southwestern State University assistant nursing professor is getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan.

    More >>

    A Georgia Southwestern State University assistant nursing professor is getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan.

    More >>
  • SEGMENT: Ace: The Eugene Bullard Story

    SEGMENT: Ace: The Eugene Bullard Story

    Thursday, March 30 2017 1:02 PM EDT2017-03-30 17:02:38 GMT
    (Source: WTVM File)(Source: WTVM File)
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – It's the story of a Columbus kid who leaves home and eventually becomes the world's first black fighter pilot. You can see it on stage in a play called Ace: The Eugene Bullard Story. Playwright Natalia Naman Temesgen stopped by WTVM to tell us all about it. Ace: The Eugene Bullard Story will be shown at the McClure Theater at the Springer Opera House at the following times: March 30-April 1 at 7:30 p.m. April 2 at 2:30 p.m. April 6-8 at 7:30 p.m. ...More >>
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – It's the story of a Columbus kid who leaves home and eventually becomes the world's first black fighter pilot. You can see it on stage in a play called Ace: The Eugene Bullard Story. Playwright Natalia Naman Temesgen stopped by WTVM to tell us all about it. Ace: The Eugene Bullard Story will be shown at the McClure Theater at the Springer Opera House at the following times: March 30-April 1 at 7:30 p.m. April 2 at 2:30 p.m. April 6-8 at 7:30 p.m. ...More >>
Powered by Frankly