Updated 11/09/2012 04:30 PM
MVP Healthcare Holds Meeting for Kodak Retirees
Another round of well-attended meetings in Rochester for Kodak retirees. They're learning more about health care and other benefits, which their bankrupt former employer is ending.
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A steady line of cars waited to get in. Kodak retirees, Medicare-eligible, eager to learn about options for health care coverage.
"I wanna get everybody in here before we get started."
Fifty-six thousand U.S. Kodak retirees got to this place, because the company they worked for is ending their health care coverage.
"We served Kodak with all our heart, y'know? And we did a good job. I think it's unfair, what Kodak's doing," said Gregory LoDolce.
Hundreds of former Kodak employees packed into a ballroom at the Holiday Inn, for a meeting held by MVP Health Care. The insurance provider, and another, Excellus, have both scheduled a series of meetings for Medicare-eligible retirees in Rochester.
"It raised a bit of anxiety," said Raymond Schuck.
Schuck worked in research Kodak.
"Thirty-two years, four months and seven days, and they told me when I left, don't sit on the curb crying because it would give the company a bad name, but they've made their own bad name."
And bad blood, among former workers, who were admittedly paid well for their work, but also promised health and other benefits for life. That started with Kodak founder George Eastman.
"The Eastman promise was, I think, accepted at face value by too many of us. The reality is a promise is only as good as it is in writing," Schuck said.
Kodak first proposed cutting retiree benefits back in March. On Monday, a federal bankruptcy judge in New York said that while what Kodak wants to do may be painful to former workers, it is perfectly legal.
"It's disappointing, because they were like the grandfather," LoDolce said.
Many retirees are sickened by the state of the one-time photo giant; bankrupt and no longer making cameras.
"Usually when management does well, we give them bonuses. In this case, they haven't done very well and I understand they're still getting paid. I wonder about that," said Schuck.
"We're gonna get through this. We're gonna explain what options you have available," said Paul Richardson.
Medicare-eligible retirees have choices, and still have time left to choose a benefits plan once their current benefits expire at the end of the year.
"I think it's a good plan. I gotta think it over."
Even that, doesn't make losing what they thought they had any easier.
"They're taking everything away. We never expected this. Not from Kodak," LoDolce said.