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UAW Retirees Settle Dispute With GM Over Trust Fund

February 25, 2008
Related Topics: Retirement/Pensions, Benefit Design and Communication, Latest News
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The United Auto Workers, along with UAW retirees, filed a proposed settlement of health care claims against General Motors Corp. with the U.S. District Court in Detroit on Friday, February 22.

If approved by the court, the settlement would establish an independent voluntary employees’ beneficiary association trust, which will pay health benefits for current and future UAW GM retirees.

“This proposed settlement will put into effect what we negotiated in 2007,” UAW president Ron Gettelfinger said in a statement. “Through hard work and hard bargaining, we have negotiated an innovative way to secure health care benefits for UAW GM retirees.”

General Motors also filed a document in the case Friday that acknowledges its support of the settlement.

The UAW signed new labor agreements with Detroit’s Big Three automakers last fall, but details about how the VEBA would be structured have been limited.

In recent interviews, Gettelfinger said it was important that the settlement of the case included an ethical practices code and that it would spell out other details about how the trust would be managed.

The agreement includes a two-page code of ethics that says the trust and all employees who work for the trust must manage the VEBA’s money and its affairs in the best interest of UAW retirees.

In the statement, Gettelfinger said the VEBA trust “will be managed by independent trustees with expertise in health care, investments, finance and other key areas. We are confident it will have sufficient assets and sufficient cash flow to pay benefits to our retirees for the next 80 years.”

The settlement also includes a seven-page explanation of the duties and powers of those trustees.

Filed by Brent Snavely of Crain’s Detroit Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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