Global Crossing

Chairman Gary Winnick made an usual pledge before Congress Tuesday to contribute some $25 million to employees who lost their 401(k) retirement savings once the telecom concern filed for bankruptcy.

Winnick, who made the offer during a hearing with members of the House Energy and Commerce investigations subcommittee, was being grilled for selling $123 million in stock while Global Crossing was internally warning about serious financial problems.

Although Winnick is under no legal obligation to follow through on his offer, it does mark the first time that a top-level executive has volunteered to make such a donation. Winnick also called on other chief executives, including those at

XO Communications

,

Qwest Communications

(Q)

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and

Mcleod USA

(MCLD)

to make similar pledges.

Meanwhile, Qwest's former chairman and CEO Joseph Nacchio, who was also testifying before Congress Tuesday, was asked whether Qwest would make such a pledge. He replied that unlike Global Crossing, Qwest is not bankrupt.

Separately, another bankrupt telecom --

WorldCom

-- said it would pay full severance payments to thousands of laid-off employees whose benefits were cut off when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July.