Wallace & Graham represents over 3000 retirees and their spouses who were employed by Alcoa and Reynolds Metals throughout the U.S. in their aluminum smelters and other plants. The clients include participants in the retiree health care plan sponsored and administered by Alcoa. The plaintiffs allege that Alcoa modified the plan in violation of their vested rights and in violation of its fiduciary duty by requiring the plaintiffs to make large financial contributions to their health care plan beginning January 1, 2007. The changes included monthly coverage premiums not previously required, and higher deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance amounts for health care benefits. Plaintiffs alleged that such a change to their vested health care benefit Plan is a breach of contract and a breach of duty under various federal laws.
The lawsuit has been filed in the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. A copy of the original Complaint that was filed in the case may be viewed here.
The employees involved in this lawsuit are hundreds of retirees from Alcoa Inc. and Reynolds Metals Company. These employees retired between June 1, 1993 and June 30, 2006. These retirees worked at least five years each for Alcoa or Reynolds Metals Company, or certain subsidiaries. Almost all of the retirees worked well in excess of five years for Alcoa, many having worked in excess of thirty years.
The plaintiffs claim that their health care plan was a vested welfare benefit plan, as defined by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). The plaintiffs retired between 1993 and 2006 under a series of retirement plans contained in Collective Bargaining Agreements reached between Alcoa and Reynolds and their unions, including the United Steelworkers Association and the Aluminum, Brick and Glass Workers International Union. They allege that their health care benefits have been vested, and cannot be reduced or changed without their consent. They allege that they attempt to reduce these health care benefits is a violation of ERISA and the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).
The plaintiffs are requesting a return of their fully funded health care benefits in addition to any monetary damages they have suffered as a result of the reduction of their benefits while the lawsuit proceeds.
If you or a family member is an Alcoa or Reynolds Metal retiree affected by these changes, please call us at 1-800-849-5291.