7th Circ. Says Manufacturers Owe Retirees Benefits For Life

Law360 (November 20, 2019, 7:01 PM EST) -- Two Illinois manufacturers must reinstate a pair of retirees' collectively bargained health benefits for life, the Seventh Circuit ruled on Wednesday, saying a termination clause in the ex-workers' contract couldn't be used as a "loophole" to undo the plan's promise of lifetime health care benefits even after the agreement expired.

A three-member panel determined a lower court properly ordered Signode Industrial Group LLC and Illinois Tool Works Inc. to reinstate benefits for retired workers Harold Stone and John Woestman, even though the companies had terminated the 2002 collective bargaining agreement. The coverage provision of the agreement plainly protected retirees' health care benefits,...

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