OPINION OF TRUSTEES
ROD Case No: 84-546 – February 9, 1988
Board of Trustees: Joseph P. Connors, Sr., Chairman; Paul R. Dean, Trustee; William B. Jordan, Trustee; William Miller, Trustee; Donald E. Pierce, Jr., Trustee.
Pursuant to Article IX of the United Mine Workers of America (“UMWA”) 1950 Benefit Plan and Trust, and under the authority of an exemption granted by the United States Department of Labor, the Trustees have reviewed the facts and circumstances of this dispute concerning the provision of health benefits coverage under the terms of the Employer Benefit Plan.
The Complainant’s last classified signatory employment in the coal industry was with the Respondent in October 1983. On March 25, 1987, the Complainant was awarded a UMWA 1974 Pension Plan Minimum Disability pension, effective November 1, 1983. The Complainant was advised to contact his last signatory employer, the Respondent, concerning his eligibility for health benefits coverage as a Pensioner. The representative for the Complainant states that the Respondent has refused to provide health benefits coverage for the Complainant.
Whether the Respondent is responsible for providing health benefits coverage for the Complainant as a Pensioner under the terms of the Employer Benefit Plan.
Positions of the Parties
Position of the Complainant: The Respondent is responsible for providing health benefits coverage for the Complainant as a Pensioner.
Position of the Respondent: The Respondent has not responded to repeated correspondence from Funds’ staff regarding its position in this dispute.
Article XX(c)(3)(i) of the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1984 provides in pertinent part:
(3)(i) Each signatory Employer shall establish and maintain an Employee benefit plan to provide, implemented through an insurance carrier(s), health and other non-pension benefits for its Employees covered by this Agreement as well as pensioners, under the 1974 Pension Plan and Trust, whose last signatory classified employment was with such Employer. The benefits provided by the Employer to its eligible Participants pursuant to such plans shall be guaranteed during the term of this Agreement by that Employer at levels set forth in such plans.
Article I (1), (2) and (5) of the Employer Benefit Plan provide:
Article I – Definitions
The following terms shall have the meanings herein set forth:
(1) “Employer” means (Employer’s Name).
(2) “Wage Agreement” means the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1984, as amended from time to time and any successor agreement.
(5) “Pensioner” shall mean any person who is receiving a pension, other than (i) a deferred vested pension based on less than 20 years of credited service, or (ii) a pension based in whole or in part on years of service credited under the terms of Article II G of the 1974 Pension Plan, or any corresponding paragraph of any successor thereto, under the 1974 Pension Plan (or any successor thereto), whose last classified signatory employment was with the Employer, subject to the provisions of Article II B of this Plan.
Article II B. (1) of the Employer Benefit Plan provide:
Article II – Eligibility
The persons eligible to receive the health benefits pursuant to Article III are as follows:
Health benefits and life insurance under Article III hereof shall be provided to Pensioners as follows:
(1) Any Pensioner who is not again employed in classified signatory employment subsequent to
(a) such Pensioner’s initial date of retirement under the 1974
(b) October 1, 1984, shall be eligible for coverage as a Pensioner under, and subject to all other provisions of this Plan. Notwithstanding (i) and (ii) of the definition of Pensioner in Article I (5) of this Plan, any such Pensioner who was eligible for benefits under the 1974 Benefit Plan as a Pensioner on December 5, 1977, shall be eligible for such benefits, subject to all other provisions of this Plan.
Article XX(c)(3)(i) of the 1984 National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement requires a signatory Employer to establish and maintain an Employer Benefit Plan to provide health and other non-pension benefits for its Employees as well as Pensioners whose last signatory classified employment was with such Employer. The Wage Agreement stipulates that benefits provided by the Employer pursuant to such Plan shall be guaranteed during the term of this Agreement by that Employer at levels set forth in such Plan.
Article II B. of the Employer Benefit Plan provides that an individual who is eligible for pension benefits under the UMWA 1974 Pension Plan is eligible for health benefits coverage under the Employer Benefit Plan. Inasmuch as the Complainant is a Pensioner whose last signatory classified employment was with the Respondent, the Respondent is responsible for providing health benefits coverage for the Complainant as a Pensioner, effective November 1, 1983.
Opinion of the Trustees
The Respondent is responsible for providing health benefits coverage for the Complainant as a Pensioner, effective November 1, 1983.