Early Honeywell Retirees Sue to Regain Health Benefits

Early Honeywell Retirees Sue to Regain Health Benefits Photo: KSTP/Chris Knoll

November 08, 2017 04:20 PM

A class of Honeywell employees are suing the company in an attempt to get it to enforce previous collectively-bargained agreements that ensured health care for early retirees until age 65.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, names as plaintiffs Augustine Pacheco and Vicki Hansen specifically and on behalf of other early retirees across multiple Honeywell locations in the state. For now, the class consists of one former Honeywell employee and two retirees' spouses or dependents.

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RELATED: Honeywell, Union Workers Reach Contract Agreement

Honeywell had announced as part of its most-recent collective bargaining agreement with the Teamsters Union that it planned to terminate the health benefits of more than 320 such employees on Jan. 1, 2018. 

The suit says Pacheco and Hansen were members of Honeywell's production and maintenance collective bargaining unit represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1145. The union and Honeywell had come to an agreement on a contract in February that reportedly provided increases in wages and sick days - as well as health care assistance - to some employees, but eliminated health care for retirees starting in 2018.

The suit says Pacheco and Hansen, as well as others, had retired prior to the February deal under a decades-old agreement that would pay early retirees and their spouses health care benefits until age 65. 

According to the lawsuit, Honeywell currently sponsors and provides health care for more than 320 former employees who took early retirement under previous bargaining agreements negotiated in 2007 and 2010.

RELATED: Honeywell Passes Final Contract Offer to Union Workers

Asked to comment on the lawsuit, a Honeywell spokesman provided the following statement:

"The termination of retiree medical and prescription drug coverage was agreed to between Honeywell and the Teamsters during the last collective bargaining agreement negotiations in January 2017."

The plaintiffs seek the reinstatement of health care benefits and that Honeywell reimburse each for all expenses, losses bills, insurance premiums, injury, anxiety and distress, as well as other damages. 

Credits

Michael Oakes

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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