AK Steel Settles another Lawsuit over Retiree Benefit Cuts

January 12, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – AK Steel has agreed to a settlement of a class-action lawsuit by a group of retirees from a Pennsylvania plant over cuts to benefits they thought were for life.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the settlement requires AK Steel to put about $86 million into a Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (VEBA) to cover future benefits costs of retired hourly workers. Attorneys will receive 10% of the settlement.   

The company previously reached an agreement with its Middleton Works retirees to contribute $663 million to a VEBA (see AK Steel Announces Retiree Health Care Lawsuit Settlement).  

The settlement covers workers who retired before December 31, 2006, under labor contracts negotiated between the UAW or Butler Armco Independent Union and AK Steel or Armco Steel, which AK bought in 1994. In January 2007, AK Steel changed retirees’ benefits by raising monthly premiums, terminating dental, vision and Medicare subsidy coverage and slashing life insurance.  

According to the news report, spokesman Alan McCoy said the company is pleased to reach a settlement and “we think it is equitable.”