Retirees File Suit to Enforce Free Lifetime Health Benefits

March 31, 2006 ( - Retirees of Caterpillar Inc. have filed suit against the company to enforce promised health care benefits under collective bargaining agreements.

The complaint charges that Caterpillar’s labor contracts and benefit plans provided retiree’s health care coverage “continued for his or her lifetime at no cost,”according to an announcement from the law firm representing the plaintiffs.In October 2004, Caterpillar began charging retirees monthly premium costs ranging from $134 to $280 per month for health care benefits.

The lawsuit seeks to stop the premium charges and restore the plaintiffs and similarly situated retirees to the position they would have been if not for Caterpillar’s alleged contractual violations.

The two retirees and wife of a deceased retiree who filed the suit are requesting class-certification to include former Caterpillar retirees and surviving spouses who retired before the adoption of a March 1998 contract.