Retirees Raising Legal Funds

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Independent News 6/25/09

    The UC Livermore Retiree Group has formed a fund to support possible legal action against the University of California for what it calls the “illegal dumping” of Lab retirees out of UC health plans and into those of the new Laboratory contractor, Lawrence Livermore National Security.
     In a widely circulated email titled, “Where the Rubber Meets the Road,” Joe Requa, head of the Livermore Retiree Group, asked for donations from retirees who are willing to help him get professional legal advice and service.
     Livermore Retiree Group has been “working with two local lawyers and their law firms” as well as an investigative law firm from Pittsburgh, Pa.  “We are at the point we need to commit to paying for legal services,” Requa said.
     The three law firms deal with labor, employment and administrative issues.  They are Sinclair Law Office, of Oakland ; Carter, Carter, Fries and Grunschlag, of San Francisco; and Stember Feinstein, of Pittsburgh.
     Requa himself has put $1,000 in the legal fund.  He estimates that a fair-share contribution from other retirees would be $350 or “as much as you can afford.”
     However, he cautioned that there is no guarantee that the Group will win against the University or “that you will get your money back.”
     Lawrence Livermore Laboratory retirees who retired in 2007 or earlier did so as UC employees with the University’s group health coverage.  Beginning in 2008, a new contractor, Lawrence Livermore National Security, used a health consulting firm and an insurance broker to move most retirees out of group insurance into individual plans that stand to become less secure and more expensive as retirees age.
     For its part, the University notes that the change in responsibility for health coverage was required by the Laboratory’s federal sponsor, the National Nuclear Security Administration.  In addition, UC has pointed to the fine print of several of its publications, which warn that benefits can be changed or canceled at any time.
     UC did not respond to a request for comment on the Livermore Retiree Group legal fund raising effort.
     The UC Livermore Retiree Group is a private organization that is not attached to the Lawrence Livermore Lab Retirees Association.  The Retirees Association is affiliated with the Livermore Laboratory through the Employee Services Association.  Many retirees belong to both groups.
     Requa asked that retirees who want to contribute make checks out to UCLRG Legal Defense Fund.  Checks should be sent to the Fund at 1144 Xavier Way, Livermore 94550.
     More information about the UC Livermore Retirees Group is online at http://home.comcast.net/~jrequa/retiree.htm