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Retirees Sue Company for Killing Benefits

NASHVILLE (CN) - RCA Rubber Co. of America, which prides itself on being a fourth-generation American-owned family business, killed the benefits of retirees of its wholly owned subsidiary, and benefits for their spouses, the retirees claim in a federal class action.

From the time it opened in 1956 until it shut down in 2005, co-defendant Pulaski Rubber Co. was a wholly owned subsidiary of RCA, the lawsuit states.

RCA was in charge of the workers' retirement plan when it decided to rob them of what took decades of work to earn, they say, and the company violated a labor agreement in doing so.

"Over decades of service at Pulaski's facility, the retirees earned rights to receive retiree medical benefits. Rights to these benefits were created through collective bargaining between Pulaski and the union that had represented the retirees while they were employed."

The workers were represented by the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.

"On or about August 16, 2010, however, RCA President Sherri D. Price sent letters to retirees and spouses on RCA letterhead announcing that effective November 1, 2010, RCA and Pulaski would 'no longer provide medical insurance benefits to retirees and their dependents from The Pulaski Rubber Company,'" the complaint states.

The class claims the termination of their benefits violates their collective bargaining agreement, ERISA, and is a breach of fiduciary duty.

They are represented by Lynn Agee of Nashville, and William Payne with Stember Feinstein Doyle & Payne of Pittsburgh.

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