Some former Maytag employees grilled Congressman Leonard Boswell this week about their lost health care coverage during a question and answer session with Boswell in Newton. Lonnie White of Newton said they spoke with representatives of Boswell as well as Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley in November, but nothing has been done.
"Congressman quite honestly I think that you all get amnesia when you go past the city limits sign, because to my knowledge we have not heard from your office, from Harkin’s office, from Grassley’s office or anyone’s office since last November when we had the meetings, about anything being done, or anything being tried to be done. And no legislation been’s introduced to keep corporations from stealing away benefits that have been legally negotiated," White said.
White says some three-thousand Maytag employees and their spouses lost benefits when Whirlpool took over Maytag.
"We got retirees that’s in dire need of help. We’ve got retirees that cannot afford to buy their insurance, pay that insurance," White says. White says he wants to know if anything is going to be done if legislation will be introduced to help keep corporations from "stealing" peoples benefits. White says, "We’re too late, Maytag retirees, are too late, we’re going to have to suffer." Boswell, a Democrat representing the third district, responded.
Boswell says legislators have had discussions on the issue and he is not sure how it will tie in with what the administration is trying to do with the "humongous effort" that is forthcoming. He says there will be a response, but he can’t say what it will be. Boswell also took exception to White’s criticism.
"I’m sorry you feel like I got amnesia, I don’t think I do," Boswell says, "and I think for me to come here and you to be accusing that I’m not trying to show your interest is not productive." The discussion was part of an hour-long meeting with Boswell.