President's Report - Fall 2021

President's Report - Fall 2021

<byline>By JoAnn Alix-Gagain<byline>

Over the past months along with the other retiree groups I have written to the Board of Directors, letters to newspaper editors, op ed articles, social media postings, and more to express what I see as a complete disregard of retirees and the commitments made to them regarding life insurance and death benefit provisions. I have personally stated to AT&T   that I representing myself and the SRA will no longer be an “ambassador” for products, services, stock buying, nothing.

Bad business decisions are not the fault of the retirees, but clearly the fault of the AT&T executives, the Board of Directors (BOD) and those newer employees who are trying to make a name for themselves by looking our way.

The SRA will continue to vote our AT&T shares in the spring with a resounding NO relative to Executive Compensation plan proposals when the company’s Annual Report is issued as we did this past April. (It was defeated by shareholders). We will vote NO to reelect any current Board of Director members as well.   We will continue to use all avenues open to us as shareholders and I ask the same of you to express treatment of current retirees. All AT&T shareholders have the ability to write to the expressing displeasure of the life insurance changes including the disparity of amount for union and management folks, reduction of dividends that is anticipated this year or service issues or costs of services, etc. Letter writing that is not uniform is far better that a universal message for everyone. You may say you don’t have shares any more. Well, I doubt that in general because most of us have some investment funds and in most cases those funds have AT&T shares, so therefore you are a shareholder. In this newsletter you will find   the AT&T Board of Directors mailing info via USPS or internet. Please take a moment to express your dissatisfaction regarding the life insurance & death benefit elimination at this point of retirement and the ability to buy it at today’s rates and at our ages. Unaffordable for most.

SRA remains financially sound with cash on hand and with our AT&T shares. We will continue with the publication of the newsletter twice a year and with emails and or mailings as required.

The Florida meetings in early 2022 have not yet been scheduled and normally we don’t until closer to the end of the year. A lot will depend on the COVID virus and variants there. Will keep you posted.

The USPS publicly has acknowledged the length of time for receiving mail. We experienced first hand with the Annual Meeting notices. It really is also very cumbersome for me to try to find folks after they have moved and not updated their address with the SRA, and their mail forwarding services have expired from the P.O.. I am listing retirees in this newsletter who’s we have not been able to find. If you know them, please have them get in touch with us with accurate mailing address, phone numbers and emails. Your help is appreciated.

The SRA Board of Directors continues willingly with our established roles in 2022. For me personally, I still enjoy the work that we do for our members. Sometimes very challenging.  This year as an example, I was able to assist a person who left with a deferred pension and would receive it when turning age 65. AT&T (Fidelity) told the person for months they had no record of her service, but yet they had sent a statement each year saying she did with the amount. Went all the way to the Pension Appeal Board and we were successful on her behalf. It took 8 months for resolution. Thank goodness for my CUTW bargaining MOU’s. So, it’s all kinds of issues for all folks who we worked with and their dependents. Some issues easier than others. It gives me great satisfaction.  

Benefit enrollment periods are pretty much routine these days. The social media pages continue to send me over the edge at this time of the year. You need to do your own research as no one has your health or your money. Don’t compare yourself to a friend or another retiree that you only know on Facebook. More bad info is out there than not. Being lazy can cost you, not them.  

I have been very fortunate to work with the SRA Board of Directors for sometime now.  My sincere thanks to each one of them and their commitment to help me in any way that I may ask or need.  

In closing let me thank you our members too. I am sure some of you have had a difficult year and faced many challenges within your own families as well as the ongoing turmoil in our world.  We worry about what will be next for ourselves or our grandkids. How will they ever make it is the reoccurring question. Well, we don’t know, do we? What I do know is that if we continue to toss our American history out the window (good and bad) and in doing so disrespect those who gave their lives on our behalf we will become a third world nation and we will have nothing but memories.

May you always be blessed with faith, good health and joy.