Union Negotiations Prompt Discrimination Complaint

March 21, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A proposal by Miller Brewing Co. to reduce pension benefits has prompted one union to file a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 35, whose members are mostly older, female office workers for the beer maker, are questioning the company’s proposal to institute a pension freeze and health insurance concessions, the Associated Press reported. The union has been working without a contract since January.

Miller’s parent company, SAB Miller PLC, suggested freezing the pension plan after 2009 and replacing the plan with a savings plan to which the company will contribute $2 per work hour. Unions with more male members were offered a savings plan with $3-per-hour contributions, according to the AP.

More than 80% of the union’s members are female and the average age of members is 53. In a statement responding to the complaint, Miller only said it was disappointed an agreement had not been reached and it values its employees.