'Secret' Pact May Have Undermined Lucent Workers

January 14, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A separate agreement between Lucent Technologies and the union representing many of its most senior employees may have cost hundreds of workers who took early retirement up to $60,000 each, lawyers said according to the Associated Press.

Joseph Kanan, president of the Communications Workers of America, the union that represents the workers, has reportedly denied the claims.

Nearly 350 workers accepted an early retirement package offered last summer that gave them as much as $40,000 in compensation, said lawyers representing some of the workers, who plan to sue the company and the union.

Shortly after the initial packages were offered, almost 1,250 workers accepted a second early retirement package that capped compensation at $100,000. However, many of these employees had less seniority than the people who accepted the first package.

Lawyers for the former employees contend that they were led to believe that the first package would be the only one offered, even though union and company officials knew that the second buyout offer would be greater than the first. They also assert that Lucent and the union did not tell workers about the second offer to reduce the number of people eligible for it.