PHOENIX (AP) -- A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling requiring Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems to restore health care benefits to a group of employees who took early retirement.
Tuesday's ruling by a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected arguments by Raytheon that it could charge retirees for their health insurance under terms of union contracts negotiated in the 1990s.
The company, a subsidiary of Raytheon Co., began charging the retirees in 2004, and they challenged that in federal court. A federal judge in Tucson ruled in the retirees' favor in 2008, saying the contracts clearly required free coverage, and Raytheon appealed.
The company will have to repay premiums it charged before the 2008 ruling, estimated at more than $6 million.
About 1,000 retirees and dependents are affected by the ruling.