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Sears smacked down for ending retired employees’ insurance after handing executives $25 million in bonuses

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The retail giant Sears came under fire Saturday following reports that the company is ending life insurance benefits for an undisclosed number of its 90,000 retirees—just months after handing executives over $25 million in bonuses.

“It’s the last benefit that retirees had,” Ron Olbrysh, chair of the National Association of Retired Sears Employees (NARSE), told CBS News.

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As CBS reported:

The unwelcome news came in a letter notifying eligible retirees that their life insurance benefit had been canceled March 15… It offered retirees the option to convert into a whole life policy all or a portion of the prior amount of their group coverage that Sears was paying for (not to exceed $10,000).

Olbrysh relayed hearing from one 91-year-old retiree—a Sears employee for 37 years—who said he had to pay more than $3,000 a year to maintain his current coverage. The NARSE chair said that premium “would not be competitive in the marketplace.”

The notices were sent to “people in their 80s that had had [life insurance coverage for] a long time,” said John Freeman, who retired from the retailer in 2002 and leads the retirees’ association chapter in upstate New York. Sears had already shaved employee benefits during its decades of financial turmoil, including major cuts to life insurance coverage in the late 1990s. But it still covered life insurance polices worth at least $5,000 for eligible retirees, with most policies ranging from $8,000 to $10,000.

Sears filed for bankruptcy last October, but earlier this year a bankruptcy court approved billionaire Sears chairman Edward Lampert’s bid to buy the company through his hedge fund.

Progressives responded with outrage to reports of Sears’ move, which fits a pattern of corporate giants rewarding top executives while average employees face benefit cuts and lay-offs.

The progressive advocacy group CREDO Mobile called Sears’ life insurance cuts “awful” in a tweet on Saturday.

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“This is not ok,” said Winnie Wong, senior political adviser for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign.


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Joy Reid medical expert blasts the president’s lies on coronavirus: ‘Trump needs to stay in his lane’

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MSNBC anchor Joy Reid interviewed Dr. Bernard B. Ashby about the latest coming from the White House on the coronavirus pandemic.

"If, for instance, you did not test for pregnancy, does it mean you are not pregnant?" Reid asked.

Ashby, a cardiologist from Miami, praised the anchor on her new primetime show, "The ReidOut," but did not directly answer the question.

"And in terms of the whole discourse, the fact that I'm having to respond to Trump about clinical medicine is ridiculous," Dr. Ashby explained.

"Trump needs to stay in his lane. Like, we went to medical school for a long time, we did training for a long time to speak on exactly what ... we have the expertise to speak on and the fact that Trump is asserting himself in academic medicine, into clinical medicine is ridiculous," he explained.

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GOP governor blocks local officials from forcing private schools to only hold classes online

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On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) is overriding a local order from Montgomery County restricting private schools to operating online only, as a safety precaution against the coronavirus outbreak raging in the area.

"Hogan issued an emergency order Monday that said private schools’ reopening would be up to individual schools and not mandated by the state," reported Madeline Charbonneau. "'The blanket closure mandate imposed by Montgomery County was overly broad and inconsistent with the powers intended to be delegated to the county health officer,' Hogan said."

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2020 Election

‘One whopper after another’: CNN’s Acosta tears into Trump for lying the Postal Service can’t deliver enough ballots

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta slammed President Donald Trump's litany of lies about mail-in voting at the day's coronavirus press briefing.

"Right at the end of that press conference, the president was just telling one whopper after another about mail-in voting, at one point saying that he doesn't believe that the U.S. Postal Service has the ability to deal with mail-in balloting at election time," said Acosta. "We just need to point out, the U.S. Postal Service put out a statement late this afternoon that says, 'the Postal Service has ample capacity to adjust our nationwide processing and delivery network to meet projected election and political mail volume, including any additional volume that may result as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.'"

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