Summary: H.R.2969 — 100th Congress (1987-1988)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
House agreed to Senate amendment with amendment (05/23/1988)

(House agreed to Senate amendment with amendment under suspension of rules)

Retiree Benefits Bankruptcy Protection Act of 1988 - Amends Federal bankruptcy provisions to provide for the representation of retirees in reorganization cases with regard to retiree benefits. Defines "retiree benefits" as benefits provided for retired employees and their spouses and dependents for medical, surgical, or hospital care, or benefits provided in the event of sickness, accident, disability, or death under any plan, fund, or program (through the purchase of insurance or otherwise) maintained or established by the debtor prior to filing a petition commencing a reorganization case.

Specifies that a labor organization shall be the authorized representative of retirees who receive benefits covered by any collective bargaining agreement to which the labor organization is a signatory unless such labor organization elects not to serve as the authorized representative or the bankruptcy court determines that different representation is appropriate. Requires the bankruptcy court to appoint a committee of retirees as an authorized representative in cases where there is no collective bargaining agreement or where a labor union does not represent retirees.

Requires the debtor in possession or trustee in a reorganization case to pay and not modify any retiree benefits. Allows modification of such benefits: (1) by court order; or (2) as agreed to by the trustee and the authorized representative of benefit recipients. Treats such payments as administrative expenses before confirmation of a reorganization plan.

Requires that prior to filing an application seeking modification of retiree benefits a trustee must: (1) make a proposal to the authorized representatives of the retirees; and (2) provide such representative with such relevant information as is necessary to evaluate the proposal. Requires the trustee to meet with the authorized representative to confer in good faith in attempting to reach mutually satisfactory modifications of such retiree benefits.

Directs a bankruptcy court to provide for the modification of retiree benefits if the court finds that: (1) the trustee has made a proposal that meets the requirements of this Act; (2) the authorized representative of the retirees has refused to accept such proposal without good cause; and (3) such modification is necessary to permit the reorganization of the debtor, assures that all creditors, the debtor, and all of the affected parties are treated fairly and equitably, and is clearly favored by the balance of the equities. Prohibits a bankruptcy court from modifying such benefits to a level lower than the trustee's offer. Allows an authorized representative, at any time after a modification of benefits is allowed, to apply for an order increasing such benefits. Requires that such an order be granted if the increase in retiree benefits sought is consistent with specified standards. Authorizes a bankruptcy court to allow a trustee to implement an interim modification to retiree benefits prior to the court's issuance of an order providing for modifications if such modification is essential to the continuation of the debtor's business or to prevent irreparable damage to the estate.

Provides that retirees shall have an unsecured claim for the full amount of any unpaid benefits.

Specifies that provisions limiting employment contract termination claims shall not limit retiree benefit claims.

Sets forth procedural requirements concerning the modification of retiree benefits.

Excludes from coverage concerning retiree benefits any retiree whose annual gross income is $250,000 or more, unless the retiree can show that he or she is unable to obtain comparable insurance coverage.

Requires a trustee to pay an allowable claim of any person for a benefit paid before the filing of a bankruptcy petition directly or indirectly to a retired former employee if, as determined by the court, such person is entitled to recover from such employee or any provider of health care to such employee directly or indirectly, the amount of such benefit for which such person receives no payment from the debtor.

Makes specified conforming amendments. Provides that the provisions of this Act shall take effect on enactment, but shall not apply with respect to cases commenced before the date of enactment.