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AT&T plans to put $9.5B into pension fund

Oct. 20, 2012 at 1:25 PM

NEW YORK, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. telecommunications giant AT&T said it planned to use preferred equity shares to contribute $9.5 billion to a retirees' pension trust fund.

The plan requires approval from the Labor Department, which will review the risk associated with a pension fund contribution that could lose value should the company's share values decline, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

However, AT&T is a large, stable company whose share values are unlikely to collapse, the newspaper said.

The company said in a regulatory filing it has 240,000 employees. The pension plan affects 600,000 of its retirees, the Journal said.

The contribution "means a strong future for the fund" said the Communications Workers of America, the union that represents hundreds of thousands of AT&T workers and retirees.

AT&T was making the move "at a time when some companies are eliminating or underfunding their pension plans," a union spokeswoman said.

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