Sisters and Brothers,
I am sorry to report that as of right now we will have to put the special VLO’s on hold. As our retirees and soon to be retirees know; until you reach the age of 65 Raytheon offers supplemental insurance that they pay a portion of until you are eligible for Medicare. A retiree or spouse without the company contribution would pay $740.85 instead of the discounted $493.85 and an employee and spouse would now have to pay $1.481.70 instead of the discounted $987.70. It will also affect members over the age of 65 when signing up for the company Medicare plus plan, without this a member will pay $100.00 a month for just themselves or $200.00 for employee and spouse as opposed to $43.00 or $86.00 with the supplemental coverage. This is a major issue to retirees that need to budget their monthly earnings and cannot afford an extra $250-500 dollars a month. As the new Raytheon has shown over and over, they will do anything that they can to take away our hard-fought benefits and it does not get much lower than trying to remove a benefit from an employee that gave years of their life to this company.
The major issue seems to be that Raytheon corporate does not know the difference between what “recall” is and what a “rehire” is. The company is stating that anybody who had a break in service after January 1st, 1994 is not eligible for this discounted rate; that means that even if you were laid off for a single day after January of 1994 you are now considered a rehire in the eyes of the company even though you lose none of your benefits and seniority date does not change but that does not seem to matter to United Technologies. It baffles me that this policy that was written in the mid-90’s and has been in place for almost 30 years has now been deemed incorrect by the same people who were administrating said policy. It is incredibly frustrating because the people who made this decision are not even the people that we can talk to so we can try and fix this as quickly as possible, we must trust that Labor Relations will actually do their job and push it to corporate in a timely manner.
I want to be as transparent as possible with you all, if this is problem is not resolved by the 14th of October there will be a layoff of as many as 100 members of Local 1505. I do not take that lightly, but I can not in good conscience let the company take advantage of the retirees and future retirees and let them institute this new policy without a fight. We have talked to our lawyer about our options, and we may file a complaint with ERISA (employee retirement income security act) in the near future as well. My team and I are confident that after the information that we presented to the company today that Raytheon will do the right thing and continue paying for this supplemental insurance for our current and future retirees.
Business Manager / Financial Secretary
Local 1505, IBEW, AFL-CIO