Bankruptcy Hearing Ends With Great Results

Thursday, August 22, 2019

At the end of the day on August 21, 2019, the Court sustained our objection to the Company's proposed reorganization. The Court agreed with our legal argument that the Debtors cannot get their plan approved without first either getting our agreement to modify our CBAs or getting the Court's approval to reject them. The Court overruled ALL of the other objections to the Plan and told the Debtors that but for the issues with us, the Court is ready to approve their Reorganization Plan, which would allow them to emerge from bankruptcy within the next few months. Based on the reaction in the packed courtroom, I don't think it ever occurred to the Company that we could stop them from moving forward with their multi-billion-dollar deal.

The Court scheduled a status conference for September 10 for the parties to report back about whether we have a deal or, if not, whether the Debtors will file a motion to reject our CBAs under Section 1113 of the Bankruptcy Code. Earlier in the hearing, the Debtors introduced testimony that the day after they emerge from bankruptcy, they will have $1.5 billion in cash (not counting anything from HB 6 over the coming years). They also testified that if they had an "unexpected expense of about $25 million" that it wouldn't affect their Reorganization Plan but would only require them to make some minor business adjustments. In light of this, I think that everyone understands (or should understand) that the Debtors will have a nearly impossible task to meet their burden to reject our CBAs which requires them to show that the concessions they are seeking are necessary for the reorganization. The amount of money needed to preserve the value of the existing pensions is inconsequential for them. Accordingly, they will have to negotiate something with us that really preserves the value of our retirement benefits. I expect that we will be back in negotiations with them shortly. The Company also has said that if they give Local 29 and Local 270 a better deal, they intend to give more to all the other unions and also the non-represented employees.

This is a tremendous victory for Local 29 and Local 270 - and, most likely, for everyone else who works for the Company. Although we still have work to do, we can see the finish line. I want to thank our attorney Joyce Goldstein for the passion in which she has fought for our members to get what they deserve. Glenn Camp has been there every step of the way making sure Joyce understood exactly what our members should be getting. We had some tough decisions to make on whether to take a lesser offer or continue to fight for everything, so along with Joe Kristian, Shaun majors, Bill Lacy, Glenn and myself we decided to fight and it has paid off. The last piece of the puzzle was the support by the members that sent the message to the Company that we are sticking together and want what we deserve. -Kenn Bradley


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