AK Steel's Former Workers Eligible For $178.6 Million Settlement
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported that "Retirees from AK Steel Corp.'s plant in Butler are among the company's former workers eligible to benefit from a $178.6 million settlement of a class action lawsuit alleging the company unilaterally cut their health and welfare benefits in 2007.
About 3,000 retirees, most of whom live in Pennsylvania, are affected by the settlement reached Monday in federal court in Cincinnati, said John Hughes, a Salisbury, N.C., attorney who represented the retirees. The settlement of the June 2009 lawsuit also covers retirees' spouses, their survivors and dependents.
The company, based in West Chester, Ohio, was pleased it reached a settlement and "we think it is equitable," spokesman Alan McCoy said.
Workers affected included those who retired since 1950, and worked under labor contracts negotiated between the United Auto Workers union or the Butler Armco Independent Union and AK Steel or its predecessor, Armco Steel Co., which AK bought in 1994.
The retirees worked at AK Steel plants in Coshocton, Mansfield and Zanesville, Ohio; Rockport, Ind., and Ashland, Ky., in addition to Butler.
The retirees claimed in the lawsuit that AK Steel unilaterally changed their health and welfare benefits in January 2007, which raised their monthly premiums, terminated dental, vision and Medicare subsidy coverage and cut their life insurance benefits.
The settlement provides hourly and salaried retirees with money toward their future medical needs in the form $91 million for retiree medical benefits as well as continued benefits worth another $87.6 million. Under the terms of the settlement, a trust fund will be created to administer the fund."