WHAT IS THE NATIONAL RETIREE LEGISLATIVE NETWORK (NRLN)?

 

The National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) represents nearly 2 million retirees from groups including the Association of USWest Retirees, Association of BellTel Retirees, Association of Prudential Retirees, Association of Raytheon Retirees, Lucent Retirees Organization, Monsanto Retirees and many more.  A complete list is attached for your information.  Please visit the www.nrln.org for more information.

 

We seek to secure federal legislation that will guarantee the fair and equitable treatment of private and public sector retirees in order to ensure the adequacy of the pension and health care benefits they have earned.  The NRLN is committed to securing fair treatment for all retirees, regardless of the type of benefit program involved.

 

 

THE 2005 NRLN LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

 

The NRLN board of Directors approved a 2005 Legislative Agenda that focuses on key pension and health care benefits issues. As the year progresses, if there is reason to alter our course, we will revise this document.

 

ISSUE:       PROTECTING RETIREE PENSIONS AND HEALTH CARE                       

                   BENEFITS

 

Corporations have unleashed waves of cutbacks in company-paid health benefits for retirees who now bear increasing and unforeseen costs for health care as corporations seek to control expenses by curtailing medical coverage.   At the same time, corporations are using pension fund surpluses to pay medical benefits, separation payments, executive benefits, and to bolster their bottom lines.  These companies are breaking their promises to loyal workers who earned these benefits through years of service.

 

ACTION:  

 

1.     Direct lobbying by NRLN staff and communications with legislators by NRLN Grassroots Network volunteers to lay the groundwork for congressional hearings and legislation that will address these critical retiree issues.

 

2.     Lobby Congress to strike down the EEOC age discrimination ruling.  This rule enables companies to drop health care coverage, particularly prescription drug plans, for those over 65 without risk of discriminatory lawsuits.

 

3.     Develop an amendment or amendments to pension legislation proposals so as to nullify the extension of Section 420 of  the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). This rule allows companies to take “surplus” from their pension trust funds when funding exceeds 125%.

 

4.     Lobby to amend ERISA to provide language that clearly defines that Pension Trust Funds must be used to pay participants’ vested pensions, and may not be used for unrelated voluntary separation allowances and pension “sweeteners” that induce selected target groups to accept retirement, thus jeopardizing the financial security of other Plan participants.

 

5.      Oppose all “Cash Balance Conversions” that result in discrimination against older workers.

 

 

ISSUE:       MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG ACT

 

The bill places the interests of drug manufacturers and private health insurers before the interests of seniors.  A report from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that the new law will strip millions of retirees of their former employer-sponsored drug coverage by 2006.  The law does little to prevent employers from eliminating benefits promised to retirees who earned them through years of service.

 

ACTION:  The NRLN believes that Congress must revisit the Medicare Prescription Drug Act to amend sections that adversely impact corporate retirees.  Safeguards must be added to prevent employers from receiving subsidies from the government while diminishing or canceling prescription drug benefits for retirees.

 

 

ISSUE:       PRESCRIPTION DRUG RE-IMPORTATION

 

Millions of America’s retirees are seeing their pensions, Social Security income and savings eaten away by the high cost of prescription drugs.  Or, they simply cannot afford the drugs their doctor has prescribed for them. 

 

ACTION:   Congress needs to pass legislation making it legal for the re-importation of prescription drugs into this country.  The NRLN is supporting S334, the “Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act,” In essence, the bill would allow U.S. licensed pharmacies, drug wholesalers and American consumers to import safe, FDA-approved prescription drugs from Canada, Europe and other countries at lower prices. 

 

 

ISSUE:       HEALTH CARE REFORM

 

ACTION:   The NRLN will continue to monitor the various legislative proposals as they are introduced in Congress and we will pursue working in coalitions with other like-minded groups who support affordable health care reform.

 

ISSUE:       SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM

 

ACTION:   The NRLN has assembled a task force comprised of NRLN Board members and individual NRLN association leaders who will examine the Administration’s Social Security reform legislation and all other proposals as the details emerge.  The NRLN will support Social Security reform only where it protects and supports retiree interests and, in general, opposes any change that diminishes benefits below the current level afforded retirees by the existing Social Security plan.

 

This action approach, adopted by the NRLN board in January, assures fair evaluation of all proposals and assures our members that we will not be premature in supporting a specific proposal that has not been thoroughly exposed to scrutiny by all parties. 

 

THE NATIONAL RETIREE LEGISLATIVE NETWORK (NRLN) Represents Millions Of Corporate Retirees And Older Workers From Major Companies Across The Nation Including:

 

 


 

Association of BellTel Retirees - Bell Atlantic/Verizon Retirees – 220,000

Association of USWest Retirees -  USWest/QWEST - 65,000 Retirees
 

GE Retiree Association - General Electric - 200,000 Retirees
 

The National Association of Prudential Retirees (NAPRI) - Prudential Life Insurance Company -90,000 retirees
 

SNET Retirees - Southern New England Telephone - 9000 Retirees 
 

GM Retirees - General Motors - 625,000 Retirees
 

Johns Manville Retirees - Johns Manville - 8000 Retirees
 

IBM Retirees - 200,000 Retirees
 

Western Union Retirees - 12,000 Retirees

Continental General Tile Salaried Employees Retirees - 2000 Retirees

Association of Raytheon Retirees Inc. - Raytheon - 50,000 retirees

 

Boeing Engineering Society Retirees - Boeing - 10,000 Retirees

 

Monsanto Retirees Association  - 20,000 Retirees

 

PG&E Pension Enhancement Committee - Portland Gas and Electric - 1130 members

 

Lucent Retiree Association -  128,000 Retirees
 

Detroit Edison Alliance of Retirees (DEAR), 10,000 Retirees

A T & T Retirees - 200,000 Retirees


 Daimler-Chrysler Retiree Association - 125,000 Retirees

Telco Retirees – SBC /PacTel  -34,000 Retirees

Ameritech/SBC Retiree Association