Judge Rules that Bowater Can’t Change GNP Pensions
BANGOR -- Reversing previous decisions, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that Bowater, the former owner of Great Northern Paper Company, cannot change GNP retiree’s pension plans.
Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Margaret Kravchuk still has to go before a federal judge for approval, and is expected to be appealed by Bowater.
“The judge has reversed her original decisions of August 2001 and November 2001 that the plaintiffs’ case was moot,” said a Bowater spokesman. We would expect to appeal her recommended decision of May 30.”
Bowater has sought to change the terms of pension plans it had initially agreed to continue intact for almost 1,000 Great Northern Paper retirees and former employees when the company sold the Katahdin area mills to Inexcon Maine in 1999.
According to Jim Case, an attorney for the retirees, Bowater first agreed to continue the plan, then altered it after Great Northern was sold. He claims that this was a violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
Twice, according to Case, Bowater reversed its changes to the pension plan, and twice told Judge Kravchuk that because of the reversals, any legal action was moot.