EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCONSTELLIUM CONTRACT CONTROVERSY
from Eyewitness News Online
Constellium Talks New Contract With Retirees And Workers
Reported by: Kristin Keeling
Web Producer: Kristin Keeling
Reported: Jul. 21, 2012 5:22 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 21, 2012 6:18 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Retirees say their health insurance is slipping through their hands with a new contract that Ravenswood's Constellium Rolled Products is proposing. But retirees say they won't back down.
"When you plan your retirement you plan it based on what you were promised. Now their promise means nothing," said Constellium retiree of 33 years, Elijah Morris.
Constellium Rolled Product's contract from 2002 expired this year. Saturday, both sides met to discuss the new plan which is raising concern among former workers. Because retirees say Constellium wants to put a cap on their health insurance if the group goes over the cap on costs, their pension will be affected.
"If I'm healthy as a horse until the day I die, and someone else has to get major surgery then each individual has to pay a part of that," explained retiree of 40 years, Ron Floyd.
"I don't know how they sleep at night. To take a bunch of old people like us and say I don't care what you gave us, I don't care how much metal you've produced here. We're done with you and we'll kick you to the creek," said Morris.
Neighboring Century Aluminum retirees have also been in an ongoing dispute over health care. Century shut down in 2009 and took 650 jobs with it and the health coverage was stripped from retirees.
Constellium says this new plan is important to make sure that doesn't happen to it's retirees.
The company refused to comment on camera, but said in a press release they have suffered significant financial losses in recent years and that the offer is reasonable. Adding that the changes are part of an effort to control costs and ensure benefits in the future.
But retirees are fearful about what their future holds.
"We may have to decide where we're going to have our healthcare and make choices we've never had to make before," said Constellium Employee, Richard Dunbar.
Constellium retirees will meet next week for an informational meeting. They say the company contract violates the National Labor Relations Act and they may take legal action.
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