The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), 9/21/07
Your Posts - Forum Excerpts
Stretching their right to free speech
On U.S. 1 right between Youngsville and Wake Forest there is the Embarq phone headquarters, previously Sprint.
I was quite shocked when driving toward this building to see about 20 cars and pickup trucks parked on the shoulder of the road in front of the business. Not only that, but I could see lawn chairs and people feverishly waving signs in a vertical motion.
Not only that, but there was one daring person that would actually hold her sign, which was on what appeared to be a broomstick, out into the traffic and then quickly whip it back right before a tractor-trailer or a car would barrel down upon her.
I'm all for people exercising their right to free speech, but they could at least do it in a responsible manner.
The speed limit on this stretch of U.S. 1 is 55. ... People were slamming on their brakes trying to at least read one sign to see what was going on.
The truck in front of me put on his brakes. I was busy trying to read a sign and didn't notice him slamming on his brakes to read a sign. I slammed on my brakes which caused the car behind me to get very close to me and so on and so on.
I could only read one sign and not all of it. It said: Just say no to Embarq. The o in the word no had a big red slash through it, reminiscent of Nancy Reagan's Just say no to drugs campaign.
The rest of the drive to Super Target I kept thinking, why? Why should I say no to Embarq? We use Embarq and are able to put two phone services on one bill and can have high speed internet for $24.95 until the year 2525. What is wrong with Embarq?
I'm sure I could go online and do a search to figure out what was going on, but to stress my displeasure with their dangerous tactics I will not.There is a parking lot across from Embarq; it would have been just as effective a place to express their disdain for the phone company, but no. I wonder how they would have felt if they did cause an accident.
-- Michelle Bowers, Youngsville
Freedom of expression on the road: a rebuttal
Retirees previously employed by Embarq, formerly Sprint, have recently been picketing the company's offices in several states, including North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Oregon.
The reason? They learned the company is going back on the promise it made to these former employees and cutting off their company-paid health insurance on Jan. 1.
"It's a crying shame," said Glenn Ward, at a picket line outside Embarq offices in Bristol, Tenn., on Aug. 30. "You think you have health insurance and then you don't." Ward spends $3,000 a month buying prescription drugs for his wife's Parkinson's disease.
From the Aug. 31 Bristol Herald Courier:
"Embarq announced July 26 the company would stop providing health insurance to its Medicare-eligible retirees and their dependents. Embarq spokesman Tom Matthews defended the action by saying it would save the company $30 million a year starting in 2008 and would remove $300 million in long-term liability from its balance sheet."
Never mind what employees were promised when they went to work for this company.
Forget what guarantees from Embarq the former employees based their long-term financial plans on.
Enjoy your high speed internet for $24.95 until the year 2525, because it's being made possible by betraying the trust of good folks who worked many years for Embarq by heartlessly cutting off their health care.
Sorry you were bothered by senior citizens waving signs by the side of the highway to alert the public to this outrage, but is it any wonder they're a little upset?
-- Erik Ose, Chapel Hill