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Ford Retirees Fight New Benefits Plan

When Larry Bronson served as the vice president of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 600 in Dearborn, Mich., fighting for better retiree health benefits was a priority. Now retired, Bronson is fighting yet again, but this time he's turning his ire against the UAW and Ford Motor Co., alleging the two conducted improper negotiations, hampering the rights of current retirees.

Ford and the UAW have been in talks for years about how to settle health benefit problems in light of dropping sales and closing plants. In 2005 UAW released a statement saying that, "The tentative agreement will require sacrifices from active workers, retirees and surviving spouses to help ensure that all UAW-Ford families will continue to have excellent health care coverage."

However, Bronson and a dozen former Ford employees allege the new agreement reneges on past decisions and will ultimately cause them to owe hundreds of dollars a year in higher health care costs.

According to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan filing, the "Bronson Plaintiffs object to the proposed settlement, as well as the summary manner in which it has been presented for approval."

At press time, Ford's agreement was still pending approval.

Staff Writer

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