Anna Mae and Jack Brennan

Hillsdale, NJ

This video was submitted courtesy of the Association of BellTel Retirees.

Jack Brennan:  I actually started work when I was 17.  I could not work outside. So I started inside as a draftsman.  Linda Day, who was the employment officer at the district level at that time, said to me as I was leaving the office, “Don’t forget when you get to be 55 years of age, you can walk with your pension, healthcare….all of your benefits.”  So that looked pretty good to me.  So I did not bother doing much interviewing, even though I know electricians, carpenters, and the rest of them made much more money than we did.  The thoughts of one day raising a family and getting those benefits were very important to me. 

There was no gift in return for getting these benefits. That was part of my total compensation. I worked in salary compensation and management job evaluation and knew and understood enough that in order to get these benefits you gave up something, and that basically was part of your salary.  So it was total comp and nothing was being given to us. We were paying the price for ____ hours in comparative to other people out there. 

Anna Mae Brennan:  It worries me a great deal, especially at our age now.  I mean, when we were younger, we didn’t have those kinds of problems.  But as we get older, we have a lot of medical problems that come up.  So it’s very important for me that we keep those benefits, because I don’t believe people our age could really afford the money that it costs now to take care of your health problems.  So it’s an amazing…I mean, we’re so grateful and so lucky to have all these benefits.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep them and we hope all the senior citizens that have it and have worked for it all those years will be able to keep their benefits.