800 Ford retirees formally object to deal that requires paying health premiums, deductibles
by : Bryce G. Hoffman
Sunday June 4, 2006 - 23:37
Ford, UAW retirees spar in court over health insurance cuts
by Bryce G. Hoffman
DETROIT — Dozens of Ford Motor Co. union retirees were in federal court Wednesday to ask a judge to reject an agreement between the automaker and the United Auto Workers that would cut their health benefits to help ease Ford’s financial troubles.
The retirees argued that they were denied a say in the deal, which could cost them hundreds of dollars a year in higher health care costs.
Larry Bronson, a former vice president of UAW Local 600 in Dearborn, described the long fight for retiree health benefits he waged with other union activists and said he never imagined he would lose them in retirement.
"It was written in stone basically, like the Ten Commandments," said Bronson, who accused UAW leaders who negotiated the Ford deal of sacrificing retirees for the sake of their careers. "They’re not acting on my behalf," he said. "They’re acting to perpetuate themselves in office."
Attorneys for the UAW said the union acted appropriately. Ford’s lawyers urged U.S. District Judge Paul Borman to approve the deal by July. They called the automaker’s financial situation "dire" and said the company needs the health care agreement to shave costs. Ford is in the midst of a restructuring that will cut 30,000 jobs and close 14 plants by 2012.
"Ford, your honor, needs this settlement approved with all deliberate speed," said Ford attorney Jonathan Abram. He called the plan "fair and generous" and added that Wall Street is counting on the deal being approved.
Bronson was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that sought to block the health care agreement. That case was not allowed to go forward. But attorney Mark Baumkel, who represented Bronson and other plaintiffs, was in court Wednesday to plead their case. "The UAW negotiated this deal without the power to do so," Baumkel said, arguing that the union has no authority to negotiate on behalf of retirees. "The union can’t give away their rights without getting their consent — and that didn’t happen here."
There were also dozens of retirees in court to support the deal, most bussed in by the union. Some said they were afraid Ford’s mounting financial woes could lead the company to bankruptcy and leave them without any retirement benefits.
Borman instructed attorneys on both sides to submit supporting documents by June 12 and said he would rule on the case after that date.
Under the terms of Ford’s agreement with the union, which was narrowly approved by active UAW members in December, retirees will be required to pay monthly health insurance premiums and deductibles that could total up to $370 a year for individuals and $752 for a family. That figure can go up by as much as 3 percent annually. In addition, some workers would pay more for prescription drugs.
Hourly retirees at Ford are not required to pay any fees for health care coverage now. Most retirees or their surviving dependents who receive pensions of less than $8,000 will not have to pay the new fees either.
Ford spent $3.5 billion last year to provide health care to 590,000 people, including employees, retirees and dependants. Its health care costs have soared 67 percent since 2000 and the company now spends $1,100 per vehicle on health care — more than what it spends on steel. Ford’s health care obligation to retirees totals $35 billion.
If approved, the deal with the UAW would reduce that obligation by $5 billion, Abram said. It will also improve pretax profits by $650 million and bolster the company’s cash position by $200 million annually.
Abram reminded the judge that one of his colleagues had approved a similar deal between the UAW and General Motors Corp. earlier this year. Without similar relief, he said Ford is at a competitive disadvantage.
The deal requires court approval because the UAW cannot negotiate on behalf of retirees. Some 800 of about 150,000 Ford retirees have filed formal objections to the deal. Some — from as far away as Oregon — made the trip to the federal courthouse in Detroit to voice their objections in person.
"I don’t think it was fair for them to vote on my cuts," said James Lynch, who retired in 1997 from the Rouge River complex. "What good does it do to retire with benefits if they can turn around and take them away from you?"
Transformation: A Student-Led Mass Political Movement
Monday 25 - 19:28by William John Cox
Algerian Feminists react to ’Hijab Day’ in Paris 2016
Monday 25 - 01:13
THE ILLUSION OF RIGHTS
Friday 22 - 18:45by JOHN CHUCKMAN
US is real superpredator pretending to be victim
Monday 18 - 22:23by Daniel Patrick Welch
Gaiacomm International has accidently created a fusion reaction/ignition.
Sunday 17 - 17:01by William Morgan
Clinton’s Campaign Continues to Highlight Horrible Hillary
Saturday 9 - 00:57by Daniel Patrick Welch
Armoiries racistes à Harvard : Plaidoyer pour la réflexion socio-historique
Thursday 7 - 18:56by Samuel Beaudoin Guzzo
THANK YOU MISSISSIPPI FOR YOUR HATE
Wednesday 6 - 02:02by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
The PKK in Iraq: “We are ready to fight ISIS everywhere in the world”
Monday 4 - 14:33by InfoAut
Clinton Crashes and Burns, Sanders Will Win (But hold off on the applause)
Friday 1 - 22:33by Daniel Patrick Welch
Confirming Supreme Court Justices and Electing Presidents
Friday 1 - 20:59by William John Cox
PCBS: "As Palestinians Mark Land Day, Israeli Illegally Controls More Than 85% O
Wednesday 30 - 14:06by Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics - PCBS
RUNAWAY TRAIN America’s election and its inability to alter the nation’s deadly
Friday 25 - 16:49by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Vicky Nuland, Neocon Hypocrite: Syria Pullout won’t ’let Russia off the hook’
Friday 18 - 15:59by Daniel Patrick Welch
Time to End the Clintons’ Unearned Pass on Race
Wednesday 16 - 23:22by Daniel Patrick Welch
TRUMP’S ANTI IMMIGRANT RACISM NOT CONFINED TO US
Wednesday 16 - 16:37by Daniel Patrick Welch
Between bids and sponsoring, Samsung’s peculiar business practices
Friday 11 - 14:49by Hannah Howard
I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name
Thursday 10 - 09:24
Slovaquie : Manifestation contre l’entrée au Parlement d’un parti néo-nazi
Tuesday 8 - 22:09by Samuel Beaudoin Guzzo
WHAT IS REALLY AT STAKE IN THE ODDEST AMERICAN ELECTION SEASON OF A LIFETIME
Tuesday 8 - 11:53by JOHN CHUCKMAN
I FINALLY HAVE PROOF, A CRAFT AND AN ALIEN…
Tuesday 8 - 04:55by gaiacomm
The Scandal of Voter Suppression in America
Tuesday 1 - 22:39by William John Cox
Are you bothering to vote? If so, read this about the Killmeister
Tuesday 1 - 14:14by Daniel Patrick Welch
HILLARY’S SECRET LETTER AND THE WHOLE MATTER OF ENDLESS WAR AND THE ALMOST COMPL
Monday 29 - 21:49by JOHN CHUCKMAN
WHY BLACK LIVES MATTER MATTERS
Sunday 21 - 06:19by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Statecraft vs. Politics As Usual
Friday 19 - 19:58by William John Cox
Umm, Apple iPhone security, yeah
Wednesday 17 - 13:19by Timbre Wolf
Gaiacomm International develops handheld EMP gun
Sunday 7 - 15:47by William Morgan
The American Republic Manifestum VS The Koran
Tuesday 2 - 14:57by William Morgan
Sanders Will Win Because Empire Can Live With It
Friday 22 - 16:04by Daniel Patrick Welch
President Obama supports The American Republic Manifestum
Tuesday 19 - 16:42by William Morgan
Tahrir square in Europe
Thursday 14 - 19:31
New year, old struggles: the strike for the collective agreement in the logistic
Thursday 14 - 12:24by Clash City Workers
March against drillings in the Mediterranean Sea in Licata
Monday 11 - 14:43by InfoAut
War Fraud: The Great Lies Behind Imperial Warfare in the 21st Century
Monday 11 - 11:12by Mark Taliano
South Africa : “We need a new beginning”
Sunday 10 - 17:21by md
Oligarchic Paternalism: Why your vote won’t bring Peace in the Middle East
Sunday 10 - 00:11by Daniel Patrick Welch
Thursday 7 - 21:49by JOHN CHUCKMAN
AMERICA’S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS A HOAX
Sunday 3 - 06:38by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Merry Fucking Christmas: there is no holiday from racist police state USA
Tuesday 29 - 00:17by Daniel Patrick Welch