UAW Sues Company for Lost Pension Benefits

March 9, 2012 ( – The United Auto Workers (UAW) filed a lawsuit against American Axle and Manufacturing for the loss of pension and other benefits for 100 workers from its factories in Detroit, Michigan, and Cheektowaga, New York. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, court papers state that UAW contends when the company closed its factories it informed the union it “would terminate and/or refuse to provide various healthcare, disability, life insurance, layoff and other welfare benefits that it is contractually obligated to provide.”

The American Axle pension plan provides for an early-retirement benefit for employees who are permanently laid-off due to a plant closing, are at least 50 years old and have at least 10 years of service. However, UAW claims, last year American Axle adopted a retroactive amendment to the pension plan that employees of both plants with 20 or more years of pension service as of the end of 2008 would no longer receive further accruals of pension credits, the news report said.

In addition, UAW claims that American Axle also terminated retirement healthcare and life insurance benefits for employees eligible for the plant-closing pension benefits.

The UAW is requesting a jury trial and is asking for the workers’ benefits to be restored. It also seeks an award of unspecified damages.