DETROIT -- The UAW has sued General Motors in order to get court approval for the revised health care coverage plan announced on Monday, Oct. 17.
A lawsuit challenging the changes to the current GM-UAW contract was filed on Tuesday in Detroit by the UAW and two union workers retired from GM, UAW spokesman Paul Krell said.
The union and GM agreed to a settlement on Monday that cuts the amount the automaker will pay for health coverage and increases out-of-pocket expenses for union workers. Details of the plan have not been released.
GM estimates the deal will save it $1 billion a year in cash. The automaker helps provide health care coverage for more than 750,000 employees, retired workers and their families in the United States.
The UAW and GM knew that the lawsuit was necessary to make changes to the contract, Krell said.
GM spokesman Edd Snyder confirmed that GM knew it would be sued on the issue and supported the action.
The lawsuit is needed to gain court approval of changes in health care coverage under the contract for retirees and surviving spouses, Krell said. He said that previous legal decisions have found that the union can bargain for changes for active workers. But changes that affect retirees must be court approved, Krell said.
In order for the court to rule on the changes, a dispute has to exist, Krell added. That explains the need to file a lawsuit, he said.
As part of the lawsuit, which will seek class-action status to cover all GM-UAW retirees and surviving spouses, the union and GM will present the new plan agreed upon on Monday as a settlement offer, Krell said.
The lawsuit will make sure that retirees get information about the revised health care coverage and give them a chance to testify at a fairness hearing, Krell said.
The UAW will begin reviewing the GM deal with leaders of union locals this week, Krell said. The deal will have to be voted upon by workers and clear the court challenge before it takes effect.
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