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Judge orders dispute between Constellium, workers union to arbitration

A Charleston federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction blocking Constellium from making radical changes to the health insurance for about 1,500 aluminum plant retirees and their families. (WCHS/WVAH)

A Charleston federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction blocking Constellium from making radical changes to the health insurance for about 1,500 aluminum plant retirees and their families.

On Tuesday, Judge Thomas Johnston ordered the dispute between the Jackson County aluminum plant and the Steel Workers Union to arbitration.

Changes are frozen until then. Next month, the company planned to replace what some described as one of the best retiree insurance plans in the nation with a retiree health exchange.

1,495 people would join a privately-run insurance exchange and buy supplemental Medicare coverage with the company underwriting some costs.

The union argued Constellium must negotiate to change that policy. The company said it did not and the judge rejected the company’s demand for steelworkers to post a $1 million bond because of the potential cost of a delay and set that amount at $10,000.

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