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Common council to draft resolution supporting Honeywell retirees losing lifetime healthcare coverage

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The South Bend Common Council is set to draft a resolution next month to share their support of Honeywell retirees, who will soon be cut from the corporation’s health care coverage.

Beginning August 1, a federal judge ruled Honeywell Corporation is not required to continue to provide health care or pay minimum premium costs for retirees. The former employees said they were promised lifetime healthcare coverage by the company.

“If this is soemthing that people have counted on, and it is, you can’t just pull the rug out from under them,” said John Voorde, At Large South Bend Common Councilman.

The judge said the corporation can take this action due to collective bargaining agreements and insurance plan documents that did not include a promise to continue coverage.

At the last Common Council meeting, retirees told councilmembers about their fight to make Honeywell hold their promise. Councilman Oliver Davis Jr. will draft the resolution with the support of Voorde.

“Symbolically, it means a lot,” Voorde said. “It means the people of South Bend, at least their elected representatives, are solidly behind them.”

Tom Zmyslo is the spokesperson for the UAW Local 9 retirees and he said the councilmembers understood their plight.

“They were willing to help and they would try to pass a resolution at next month’s meeting to back the Honeywell employees,” Zmyslo said.

The Common Council is the latest on the list of Honeywell retirees’ supporters. Democratic congressional candidate Mel Hall, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly have all spoke out against Honeywell’s actions.

“It means a lot to the retirees that they would have backing,” Zmyslo said. “We’ve tried to contact Congresswoman Walorski’s office and we’ve had no reply.”

Zmyslo said the retirees hope to meet with Walorski in August to give her a petition signed by retirees and supporters. He said he wants the congresswoman to give the petition to President Donald Trump, who he hopes will cause Honeywell to make good on it’s promise.

“This fight is not over, we’re going to push this all the way to Washington if we can,” he said.

If you would like to sign the petition, Zmyslo said you can stop by the UAW Local 9 at 740 South Michigan Street in South Bend.

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