Steelworkers Hail Court Decision Approving $1 Billion Health Care Fund for Goodyear Retirees

2008-08-22 15:30:00

    PITTSBURGH, Aug. 22 /EMWNews/ -- The United Steelworkers

(USW) applauded the judgment issued today by the U.S. District Court for

the Northern District of Ohio, approving the $1 billion Voluntary

Employees' Benefits Association (VEBA) trust fund, established as part of a

2006 contract settlement following an 86-day strike.

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    "This decision confirms the victory we achieved as a result of the work

stoppage," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "Retirees who

spent their working lives employed at Goodyear can now be assured that

funding for health insurance and prescription drug coverage is protected

and cannot be taken away from them."

    The class action lawsuit was brought by the USW and two Goodyear

retirees, Gerald Redington, of Lena, Ill., and Bennett Toller, of Danville,

Va. It challenged the company's right to reduce or terminate health care

benefits for retirees.

    The $1 billion trust fund will be removed from Goodyear's hands and

taken over by independent fiduciaries with expertise in health care


    Nine trustees will oversee the fund. Three will be appointed by the

union; four are public members, drawn from experts in the health care

field; and two trustees will be appointed by Redington and Toller.

    "The union will not operate the fund but our members will contribute to

it in the future," said Ron Hoover, USW executive vice president of the

Rubber and Plastic Industry Conference (R/PIC). "Trustees of the fund and

the fund's management will be working strictly on behalf of Goodyear's


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