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Boeing May Settle for $90 Mil in Retirement Benefits Case

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 12, 2015 3:57 PM

Some former Boeing employees may soon finally receive the benefits of a 10-year long class action lawsuit. Talk about perseverance.

Boeing and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) have agreed on a settlement 10 years after the suit was filled. Boeing will pay $90 million to cover pension and retiree health benefits to former Boeing Co. employees.

The Lawsuit

In 2005, Boeing sold its Wichita commercial aircraft division to Onex Corp., which created Spirit Aero systems. At that time, Boeing union contracts promised workers who had 10 years of service and were within six years of age 55 are eligible for early pension and medical benefits.

When Boeing sold the Wichita plant to Onex, Boeing employees at the Wichita plant were encouraged to reapply for their positions with Spirit AeroSystems Inc. Not all employees were rehired. Boeing considered employees who were rehired as terminated and therefore not eligible for benefits.

That same year, SPEEA sued Boeing alleging that 611 former Boeing employees were in fact eligible for benefits.

The Settlement

According to court documents, the settlement will pay $4.25 million in attorneys' fees and expenses and $147,500 in administrative fees and expenses.

The rest of the $90 million will be divided up among class members according to how many years of credited service they had and when they retired. One employee who will retire at age 62 and has 23 years of credited service will receive about $41,000. Class members will also receive up to $40,000 for reimbursement of certain medical costs.

The settlement, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, is not yet final. It must first get approval from the court in August. Before a settlement can be approved, members of the lawsuit must first be given an opportunity to object. If any objections to the settlement are raised at the August hearing, class members may have to wait even longer for their money.

Well, they already waited 10 years. A few more isn't going to hurt.

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