3M Retirees Ready Class-action Lawsuit Over Benefit Cuts

A group of retired employees and their spouses are -preparing to file a class-action lawsuit against 3M, alleging the company illegally cut retirement health care coverage.

"We were promised that the health care coverage we were receiving when we worked there would be ours for life," former 3M employee LaVonne Bowman said in an interview with Sentinel Online, the Web-based news service of the Minnesota Sentinel. "We ended up taking less wages just so we could have this health care coverage."

The workers say they were covered by a contract that stated workers who retired with 15 years of pension service, and their spouses, would receive medical benefits for life at the company's expense. The class-action suit covers union members who retired before September 1994 and their spouses. The plaintiffs are taking issue with huge cost increases 3M has passed along to them in recent years.

"3M has made a promise to these people, and they haven't lived up to it," said plaintiffs attorney, Dan Boivin of Meshbesher & Spence Ltd. in Minneapolis. Boivin, along with attorney Matt Newmann, is preparing the suit against 3M. "We need to send a message to corporate America."

Edited by Christine Woolsey