Message from Business Manager, Paul Cameron
The following narrative describes a fight that started in 2012 after corporate greed chose to default on a commitment to fund a 31 million dollar trust to secure healthcare benefits for workers who spent decades of their lives making their employer profitable and sacrificing their family life, health and extreme working conditions during any 24 hour period – seven days a week and ultimately having their benefits terminated in May 2013. Local 459 provided the avenue for a 3.8 million dollar settlement for its affected members.
In September 2012 the assets of the 2,000 megawatt Homer City Electric Generating Station (Homer City LLC) were transferred to Homer City Generation, L.P. (an entity owned by General Electric). At the same time, there was a bankruptcy case in Delaware involving “Homer City Funding LLC.” A $31 million trust was to be set up to provide relief for retiree healthcare insurance benefits. The trust was originally going to benefit certain IBEW Local 459 retirees, a few active IBEW employees and some salaried employees. Sadly, in the end, Homer City Funding LLC was not required to fund this trust and no monies were set-aside for the retirees who ultimately lost their health care benefits in May of 2013.
Next, in mid-2013, Homer City Generation LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in Illinois, along with other related entities. The Company had limited assets (as they had been transferred already), but there was about $7.9 million held in bonds and by insurance companies. The subsidiary of General Electric (that previously obtained Homer City Generation LLC’s assets) argued in the Illinois bankruptcy case that it was entitled to the entire $7.9 million. IBEW Local 459 challenged this in the bankruptcy case. An overall settlement was then reached between Homer City, the GE Division and IBEW Local 459.
In conclusion, the officers and staff of IBEW Local 459 know that it has been a hardship for many of you who lost your health care benefits in 2013. However, we did not forget about you nor did we stop fighting the Company until we obtained a recovery for you.
Paul L. Cameron
Business Manager/Financial Sec.