The parties in a class-action lawsuit filed in 2005 by former Boeing Wichita workers and the unions that represent them have reached a tentative settlement, according to one of the unions.
“The parties to the lawsuit have reached a tentative settlement, subject to approval by the federal court,” the Machinists union said late Monday afternoon. “Pursuant to the terms of the court-ordered mediation process, the terms of the settlement remain confidential, pending notifications being mailed to class members in the coming weeks.”
The suit originally was filed by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace and was joined by the Machinists union. It is separate from a lawsuit filed at about the same time by former employees alleging age discrimination.
SPEEA Midwest director Bob Brewer said he could not comment on the tentative settlement.
The lawsuit against Boeing sought payment of early retirement medical benefits and pensions included in Boeing union contracts that were in place at the time Boeing sold its Wichita commercial aircraft division to Onex Corp., which created Spirit AeroSystems.
The benefits allowed the workers, under certain requirements, to retire at age 55 and receive pensions along with medical benefits that bridged the gap until they were eligible for Medicare.
The “bridge” was available for employees who were at least 49 years old and had 10 years of Boeing service.
The suit alleged that the workers, who went to work for Spirit, were laid off in the sale and thus eligible for the benefit. Boeing said they were terminated and not eligible.