Kodak Retirees Protest Benefit Cuts

Former workers picket company's headquarters over slashed benefits.

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Companies don't always deliver on the retirement benefits promised to their employees. Kodak announced in August that it would no longer pay for dental coverage or life insurance for retirees beginning in 2009. The camera company also plans to shift more health insurance premium costs to retirees and phase out employer-paid medical coverage for dependents over the next 10 years.

The retired Kodak workers decided to stage a protest. About 70 retirees picketed outside the company's corporate headquarters last week to protest the cuts, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports. Rochester-based TV station R News captured a video of the former workers marching with signs lamenting the loss of their promised benefits. More than 200 Kodak retirees held a similar protest outside Kodak Tower in September.

Kodak spent $44 million on postretirement benefits in the second quarter of 2008, according to an earnings report filed in July with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the company expects to spend an additional $112 million this year. "We feel that our approach strikes the right balance between individual and company interests," Kodak said in a statement about the benefit cuts. "Keeping Kodak competitive is the best thing we can do for employees and retirees."