Ford and its affiliated United Auto Workers pension plan face a class action that alleges they’ve failed to provide future service credits pursuant to the union’s collectively bargained agreement with the automaker.
Ford and its affiliated United Auto Workers (UAW) pension plan face a proposed class action that alleges they’ve failed to provide future service credits pursuant to the union’s collectively bargained agreement with the automaker when an employee misses work due to an occupational injury.
According to the 23-page complaint, the plaintiff, a longtime Ford employee at the automaker’s Kentucky truck plant, missed work for significant periods of time on approved medical leave due to two occupational injuries—for which he received workers’ compensation—between May 2010 and the present yet was not provided with the at least 23 years of credited service of at least 40 hours per week to which he was entitled under the Ford-UAW retirement pension plan.
The case contends that the Ford-UAW pension plan, which reportedly has more than 13,000 active participants, provides that employees who’ve been absent from work due to occupational injury or disease, and receive workers’ compensation while on company-approved leave, are entitled to future service credit based on 40-hour weeks during their absence.
“The last summary Defendants provided to [the plaintiff] purporting to set forth his credited service asserts that he is only credited with approximately 15 years of credited service rather than the more than 23 years of credited service that [the plaintiff] is entitled to receive under the Plan,” the suit alleges.
Under the Ford-UAW pension plan, a participant’s monthly benefit is determined by multiplying their credited service by a benefit rate that’s based on the employee’s job classification and retirement date, the filing says. Under the plan, an employee receives one year of future service credit for each calendar year in which they received pay from Ford for a certain number of hours, the case relays. Employees are also entitled to accrue future service credit, based on 40 hours per week, under the plan for certain periods during which they’re on leave or otherwise are not working, including due to occupational injury or disease incurred in the course of their employment with Ford, including if the individual has received workers’ comp benefits, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit states that the plaintiff, who’s worked for Ford since May 1999, was injured on the job in May 2010, to the extent that he was unable to work for “a significant period of time.” Per the case, the plaintiff was absent from work on approved medical leave from around November 17, 2010 through January 10, 2014.
In November 2014, the plaintiff was injured in a work-related accident when he was rear-ended by another car while test driving a Ford vehicle, the filing says. The man has been on approved medical leave since January 1, 2015 as a result of that accident, the suit states.
For both instances in which the plaintiff was unable to work, Ford contested the man’s claim for workers’ compensation, and both times an administrative law judge ruled in the plaintiff’s favor, granting him benefits, the case relays.
The suit alleges Ford’s failure to provide the plaintiff with the proper amount of future service credit for the times he was unable to work from around May 27, 2010 through January 10, 2014 and from January 1, 2015 to the present violates the terms of the Ford-UAW Retirement Plan. The case surmises this is an issue run into by similarly situated plan participants who were on approved leave and received workers’ comp.
The lawsuit looks to cover all Ford-UAW Retirement Plan participants, or their surviving spouses or beneficiaries, who were absent from work due to an occupational injury or disease incurred in the course of their employment with Ford and, on account of such absence, received workers’ compensation while on approved leave and who did not receive credited service of at least 40 hours per week during all periods of absence.
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