Continental Tire's Attack on Retirees

In March of 2006, Continental Tire of North America carried through its plans to slash its payments for health care benefits for its retirees. For months, the company had been threatening to impose a $3,000 cap on payments for retiree health care. With the annual cost of family health care coverage costing retirees as much as $15,000, the implementation of this cap could be financially devastating.

Many retirees are reporting having to shell out as much as 90% of their pensions to pay for healthcare. One retiree, Ellis Nelson for instance pays $1,011 of his $1,126 monthly pension for health insurance for himself and his wife. His storied is chronicled on the United Steelworkers website "SolidarityAtConti."

“Ellis Nelson started working for General Tire in 1969. He spent most of his 31-year career with the company as a “Compounder” before retiring in 2000. Ellis and his wife Rose still live in Charlotte, but both of them have fallen into bad health. Several years ago Ellis had to undergo an invasive back surgery and he still experiences back pain to this day. In a couple months, he is scheduled to undergo a hip replacement procedure—both of these ailments are likely products of years of hard labor in a tire factory. Still, Ellis spends most of his time taking care of his wife, Rose who is in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.

The Nelsons simply cannot afford to go without health insurance, so Ellis must now spend $1,011 of his $1,126 monthly pension on health insurance premiums for himself and his wife.“

While Ellis primary concern is economic, other retirees simply feel betrayed. Bruce Nash, who worked in the Charlotte tire plan for 34 years says he feels that the company has taken advantage of him.

“Bruce Nash was just 18 years old when he went to work at the General Tire plant in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1972. While Bruce was working, he and his family had a good life on his union wages and both of his children went on to college without scholarships. Bruce spent 34 years with the company before retiring at the age of 52. Now, after spending his entire working life with Continental, Bruce is looking for other work because his $1,400 pension isn’t enough to cover the high healthcare premiums.

Bruce feels that the company is going back on its word by cutting health care now that he’s too old to start another career. ‘Folks in these parts don’t mind working for a living but they take offense to being taken advantage of…Life expectancy has increased but mine has not because I can’t afford health insurance.’”

In all, 2,500 retirees and their families are impacted by these healthcare cuts. The retirees and their union, the United Steelworkers have filed a class action lawsuit against the company demanding a preliminary and permanent injunction against the healthcare cuts. Unfortunately that type of litigation can take years before justice is served.


Thank you for posting this here

Please keep us updated on progress of the lawsuit. This is sad.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Sad and deplorable.

I met a couple at my precinct meeting a few weeks back who are now paying $ 700 per month for health insurance. When he retired 6 years ago, it was nothing.

That's about what I pay for my son and husband.

My employer pays for me. Is that out of line?

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Probably not

in today's market. It is hard enough for folks who are working and have some expectation of a rising income. The cost has doubled over the last six years.

These increases are even harder for those on fixed incomes. When the couple I mentioned above retired they were counting on their health insurance to be cost free as part of their package. The employer has changed the rules on them.

Rising health insurance costs

Here's additional information on health insurance costs according to National Coalition on Health Care:

Premiums for employer-based health insurance rose by 7.7 percent in 2006. Small employers saw their premiums, on average, increase 8.8 percent. Firms with less than 24 workers, experienced an increase of 10.5 percent

The annual premium that a health insurer charges an employer for a health plan covering a family of four averaged $11,500 in 2006.
Workers contributed nearly $3,000, or 10 percent more than they did in 2005. The annual premiums for family coverage significantly eclipsed the gross earnings for a full-time, minimum-wage worker ($10,712).

Workers are now paying $1,094 more in premiums annually for family coverage than they did in 2000.

Since 2000, employment-based health insurance premiums have increased 87 percent, compared to cumulative inflation of 18 percent and cumulative wage growth of 20 percent during the same period.

Thanks for this information.

I've bookmarked the link - good stuff.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

We need more

attention on Labor issues in this blog. Thanks for the post.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

Is recommending not working?

I'm recommending lots of posts, but they're not showing up on the right side at the top any more . . . is it me . . . or is it LANCE?

It's glitchy again

I keep getting logged out. About every third time I refresh/comment, etc.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

i only have that problem

in IE. in Firefox and Safari it is fine.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"


You should stop refreshing and commenting (as in "the Doctor said 'don't do that!'").

I've got cookie and session ID research on my list, but it's really outside of what I know, and figuring out what's going on will take some time. Bear with, por favor.

Blue South is right

It doesn't happen in Firefox or Safari. I was on the laptop and was using IE b/c the Firefox won't update correctly and I'm too lazy to uninstall and reinstall. If anyone else brings it up ask if they are using IE. That appears to be the problem.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

One (wo)man, one vote, Anglico

I keep voting for progress, but here we are.