Cincinnati Bell Will Freeze Pension, Phase Out Retiree Health

February 9, 2009 ( - Cincinnati Bell said last week that it would freeze pension benefits for some management employees, as well as management salaries.

According to the Business Courier, the telecommunications company said it was freezing pension credits, effective March 28, for salaried employees under the age of 50. Employees over 50, who haven’t accepted an early retirement option, will continue earning pension credits through 2018, when they will end.

Cincinnati Bell, which ended its pension plan for new salaried workers a couple of years ago, also said it will phase out the retiree health-care plan for management employees and certain other employees over a 10-year period, and institute a freeze on management salaries effective immediately.

Bell said it will also terminate all retiree health care benefits at the end of 2018. Bell’s announcement that it will freeze management salaries is the second in the last four years.

Commenting on Cincinnati Bell’s outlook for 2009, Chief Financial Officer Gary Wojtaszek said, “We are taking the appropriate actions to minimize the financial impact of the current economic environment on our business. Earlier today Cincinnati Bell announced important changes to its legacy pension and retiree healthcare plans that will result in cost reductions of approximately $140 million over the next 10 years. In addition, the renegotiation of certain billing and services contracts in 2008 and a management salary freeze in 2009 will help better align our cost structure with the competitive environment.”

Cincinnati Bell provides telecommunications products and services to residential and business customers in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.