Former employees of Unisys Corporation came out of retirement on Wednesday to protest that the firm wants them to "drop dead so they won't have to pay" the lifetime medical benefits which it promised to all retired staff.
Around 50 former workers, some of them in their seventies and eighties, gathered outside the company's main US manufacturing plant in Plymouth, Michigan to complain about an 11-year dispute concerning private medical insurance.
They were protesting against Unisys' termination of medical benefits after they were promised by the company and its predecessor, Burroughs, "lifetime" medical coverage after the age of 65 paid by the company as part of their retirement benefits.
The rally, which followed an earlier protest at the company's Blue Bell, Pennsylvania worldwide headquarters, marked the launch of a campaign of national protests and informational picketing by around 9,000 former staff.
According to the retirees, the company made these promises to justify lower pay rates, discourage unionisation and induce older workers to retire.
One former Unisys employee, Ken Perrin of Highland, who worked for Burroughs then Unisys for 32 years, said: "Despite previous settlements covering other parts of the lawsuits filed as far back as 1992, the company continues to drag out the court case.
"We dedicated our lives to the company. Their message to us is 'drop dead' so they won't have to pay us.
"These are called the Golden Years when, after a lifetime of working for the company, we are supposed to be enjoying the fruits of our labour.
"Surprise! After repeatedly telling us that our medical benefits were guaranteed once we retired, the company step by step terminated them.
"Court after court has agreed that Unisys had systematically misinformed us about the duration of our benefits and that it had engaged in a systematic campaign of confusion.
"But they continue to delay and delay coming to a fair solution."
Unisys had yet to comment at time of going to press.
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