Berkshire Hathaway Sued By Subsidiary Over Retirement Benefit Cuts

Warren Buffett

Workers at Acme Brick Co. say Berkshire Hathaway promised not to scale back retirement benefits when it bought the company in 2000.

Since then, Acme Brick employees have had their pensions frozen and been subjected to other rollbacks in retirement benefits. So they have sued Hathaway, the holding company run by Warren Buffett, for breaching its alleged promise. Reported by the Star Telegram:

Two employees and a retiree of Fort Worth-based Acme Brick Co., including the company’s chief financial officer, have sued the company and its parent, Berkshire Hathaway, alleging the company improperly reduced the company match on its 401(k) retirement plans and froze its pension plan.

The class action suit, filed Aug. 15 in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, says Berkshire Hathaway, run by multi-billionaire Warren Buffett, broke a pledge it made when it acquired Acme with Justin Industries in 2000 not to reduce benefits in the company’s retirement plans.

“Since that time, the employees have stuck with the company through good times and bad, in anticipation that their benefits under the Retirement Plans would ultimately compensate them fairly,” the lawsuit says. “Now, almost 14 years later, Berkshire Hathaway has broken its promise.”

Acme Brick’s senior management on July 15 voted to make changes to the retirement plans urged by Buffett, Berkshire’s chief executive officer, and Marc Hamburg, its chief financial officer. Otherwise “Berkshire Hathaway intended to divest itself of Acme as a subsidiary,” the lawsuit says.

The class-action lawsuit alleges that Berkshire Hathaway violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) when it cut benefits.

Read more on the case here.

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