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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 3, 2010

ML&P to cut retirees’ medical

By Harry Eagar
Maui News

Maui Land & Pineapple Co. will cease paying for life insurance and medical coverage for all its noncontractual retirees.

"It's very regretful for this to have to happen," Chief Financial Officer John Durkin said yesterday. "None of these things are made lightly, but it is in the best interests of the company."
ML&P lost heavily in pineapple, and its Kapalua Resort is not doing well in the tourism recession. Sales of resort residential real estate are slow.
Its Kahului real estate is listed for sale, but it has been for a long time with no buyers.
"We have to run the company on the most optimal basis," said Durkin.
ML&P also has shrunk to the point where it has more noncontractual retirees than active employees, not to mention the much larger number of retired union employees.
Since the union benefits were written into labor agreements, the company could not unilaterally cancel them. But for managerial and other nonunion retirees, it can.
"It's sad it's gotten to this point," said Doug MacCluer, one of them. "A lot of wonderful people are going to be hurt."
MacCluer is one of a group of Maui Pine retirees who have taken over a large part of the closed Maui Pine operation and are restarting it as Haliimaile Pineapple Co. He came back from a trip to Asia to find two letters canceling his benefits.
ML&P is offering information sessions to help the retirees find substitute coverage. The first will be tomorrow, and MacCluer said he planned to be there.
Durkin said about 400 retirees and their survivors were affected by the cancellation of their group life insurance; and a little over 100 by cancellation of medical coverage.