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Kodak withdraws request to terminate retiree health care coverage

April 6th, 2012 10:55 am by Sharon Hayes

Kodak withdraws request to terminate retiree health care coverage

In this Oct. 26, 2010 file photo, Kodak products are displayed in a store in Brunswick, Maine. Eastman Kodak Co. said early Thursday Jan. 19, 2012 it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as it seeks to boost its cash position and stay in busine

Eastman Kodak Co. has withdrawn its request with a bankruptcy court to terminate healthcare coverage for post-1991 retirees.

Kodak withdrew the request this week, and in addition, filed a motion asking the U.S. trustee to move forward with the formation of a committee to address retiree issues.

The Eastman Kodak Retiree’s Association declared the moves a victory for its members.

“Kodak’s actions are big steps toward what we have been working for and hoping for since EKRA started three years ago,”  said Art Roberts, EKRA’s vice president who is leading EKRA’s bankruptcy response. “These decisions by Kodak give retirees a chance to directly interact with Kodak to try to find win/win solutions for the resolution of all of our health and survivor benefits.”

EKRA President Bob Volpe said his organization will submit a list of about 50 people as candidates to serve on the new committee.

Kodak is also compiling a list of potential representatives for the committee and will post a notice and questionnaire for additional solicitations at kccllc.net/Kodak.

The U.S. trustee, who will be responsible for selecting the people who will serve on the committee, will also solicit names of potential representatives from another retiree group and retirees who have submitted letters to the court.

Names of potential representatives should be submitted to the U.S. trustee by April 16. The U.S. trustee is expected to select the committee members and file notice of the appointments to the court by April 30.

Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year, and said at the time it would review its legacy cost structure, including retiree benefits, to determine ways to reduce expenses.

In late February, the company notified retirees that it was seeking permission to terminate healthcare coverage for employees who retired after Oct. 1, 1991.
Kodak this week announced it has decided against that idea.

Many Kodak retirees live in the Tri-Cities region. Eastman Chemical Co. was part of Kodak before it spun off on Jan. 1, 1994, as a standalone company headquartered in Kingsport.

For more information go to EKRA.org.

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