November 15 2007
Mr. P. J. Vogeler, Vice President, Human Resources Ė North America
Alcatel - Lucent
600 Mountain Avenue
Murray Hill, New Jersey 07974
Dear Mr. Vogeler:
This is to acknowledge receipt of your October 25th response to the message I sent to Pat Russo. Your thanks regarding my years of service are appreciated. Looking back on those years, I canít remember a week in which I worked less than seventy hours. Why? Because I believed in my company and my management and the people with whom I interfaced, as well as those who reported to me. I never had a regret Ė I worked for a company that cared about me, and, in response, I cared about that company. And, I was not alone - - many, many felt the same!! I wonder if todayís Alcatel-Lucent employees feel that way too?
In your response, you stated: "--- we would like to address your concerns". Iíve placed the emphasis on "your" because I want to ensure your realization that the concern is not mine alone - - it is shared by many, many persons.
And, I do recognize the competitive challenges the company faces. Perhaps not as intimately as you and your associates, but certainly with all my 36+ years of Bell System background that I can muster. What I donít understand is how the company can become more competitive by selling off all of its manufacturing capabilities (the Merrimack Valley Works is gone!), much of its research capability (witness the sale of the Holmdel facility) and letting go many talented and creative personnel. And I must confess that Ms Russoís latest plan to become more competitive by discharging another 4,000 employees just doesnít seem very innovative or creative to me.
And, so, are you now saying that the only recourse left to Ms Russo is to renege on commitments that were made to retirees during all their working years? The years when those persons were supporting the company with 70+ hours of work - - each and every week!?!
You further stated in your letter: "Even with the announced changes and specifically, changes to the prescription drug program, our plan continues to provide retirees and their dependents access to a comprehensive health plan". Your organization must have done extensive investigation to support this claim. Will you please provide me with a summary of the comparative data that must have been amassed to support this contention? Further, can you provide the cost comparisons that also must have been made? Those would help my understanding, and the understanding of my fellow retirees, quite a bit.
My last, but not least, subject is your mention of not being able to subsidize the dependents of retirees, such as me, who retired on or after March 1, 1990 with an annual income greater than $65,000. When I contrast that with your statement that insurance premiums have risen 87 percent since 2000, I wonder why there hasnít been a cost-of-living adjustment to our pensions in all the years since I retired in January 1996? Can you please explain?
Well, Mr. Vogeler, Iím surmising that Iíve given you enough to consider as regards the views of us "pensioners". I hope it helps in your future deliberations. I look forward to hearing from you as to the foregoing points.
Oh, and one more thing for your consideration and response: With all these reductions being effected on the "commitments" made to retirees, how can the enormous remunerations being given to high level managers be justified? Those are totally out of synch with corporate results, and certainly in opposition to all the cuts that retirees have experienced!