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UNIONS SUE NORTH AMERICAN PHILIPS OVER CUTS IN RETIREE HEALTH CARE

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Union of Electronic Workers filed a law suit against North American Philips Corporation on Jan. 15, 1993, after the company announced it had unilaterally modified medical and dental insurance for retirees and reserved the right to eliminate employer-paid future coverage.
 The suit, jointly filed in the Eastern District Court of Kentucky by the IUE, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the American Flint Glass Workers Union (AFGWU), claims North American Philips insurance changes violate collective bargaining agreements between the company and its retired workers, as well as ERISA.
 The problem facing retirees at Philips and other American companies can be blamed, in part, on the nation's failure to control health care costs. It was precipitated by a change in the Financial Accounting Standards Board rule which now requires companies to account for health care costs of retirees on current balance sheets.
 "Pressure to make more money results in companies cutting retirees' benefits rather than showing them as a liability," explained IUE President William Bywater. "In addition, many executives are paid on a performance basis and may be tempted to cut health care to show greater profits. This act should be considered criminal when the health and retirement security of so many people is on the line."
 Earlier this year, IUE filed a similar suit against Unisys Corp. when the company announced it would begin to phase out retiree health care payments over the next three years. Bywater called the announcement a slap in the face to every worker. "We plan to fight anyone who tries to abandon the retired workers who helped make companies like Philips and Unisys what they are today," he said.
 -0- 2/3/93
 /CONTACT: Scott Treibitz or Steve Hahn of International Union of Electronic Workers, 202-296-1208/


CO: International Union of Electronic Workers ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:

SH-KW -- NY060 -- 2439 02/03/93 13:18 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 3, 1993
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