By PETER HUSSMANN
Testimony from past and current UAW Local 997 union representatives continued on Tuesday in the federal class-action lawsuit brought by Whirlpool claiming its right to change the health care benefits provided to more than 3,000 retired Newton Maytag plant employees.
Former Local 997 President Max Tipton testified for two more hours on Tuesday about past contract negotiations between the company and the union before giving way to Ted Johnson, the local president in Newton during the 2008 contract negotiations.
Johnson testified for more than two hours about the events leading up to the 2008 negotiations, his preparation and collection of documents in advance of those contract negotiations and the collective bargaining relationships between the company and the union.
James Reid, a current Whirlpool employee and Local 997 Skilled Trades representative, followed Johnson to the stand. Reid, court documents state, was called to testify about his duties and responsibilities as a union representative, the benefits he received as a Maytag Newton plant employee and those he now receives as an hourly employee of Whirlpool and about the contract negotiations in 2008. He was on the stand for approximately 30 minutes.
Another UAW Local 997 Skilled Trades representative and current Whirlpool employee, Mark Hoffert, was the final witness of the day. Like Reid, he was to testify about his duties as a representative, the comparative benefits he received as a Newton Maytag and Whirlpool hourly employee and the 2008 contract negotiations. He testified for approximately 20 minutes.
The bench trial before U.S. District Court Judge James Gritzner recessed for the day at 3:35 p.m. Testimony was to continue today at the federal courthouse in Des Moines.