Appeals Procedure

If you apply for benefits under this Plan and are ruled ineligible by the Trustees, or by the Administrator acting for the Trustees, or if your benefit claim is denied in whole or in part, you have the right to request the Board of Trustees to designate a hearing panel to conduct a hearing on the matter in question. The hearing panel shall be composed of at least two Trustees. Such a hearing will be held provided you request in writing within sixty days after being informed in writing of the Board’s action in denying your claim.

The hearing panel will then conduct the hearing at which you shall be entitled to present your position and any evidence in support of your position. You may be represented at such hearing by an attorney or by any other representative of your choosing. The Trustees shall issue a written decision reaffirming, modifying or setting aside their former action after receiving the recommendation of the hearing panel.

If you are dissatisfied with the written decision of the Trustees, you have the right to appeal the matter to arbitration in accordance with the Labor Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association provided that you submit a request for arbitration to the Board of Trustees in writing within sixty days of receipt of the written decision of the Trustees. The question for the arbitrator shall be whether the Trustees (1) were in error upon an issue of law, (2) acted arbitrarily or capriciously in the exercise of their discretion, or (3) whether their findings of fact were supported by substantial evidence. The administration fees of the American Arbitration Association shall be borne equally by two parties (that is, by you and by the Trust Fund) and the arbitrator’s fee and expenses shall also be borne equally unless the arbitrator in his award should assess such expenses against either of the parties. The decision of the arbitrator shall be final and binding upon the Trustees and upon the appealing party. Subject to law, the procedures described above should be the sole and exclusive procedures available to a participant or beneficiary of a participant who is dissatisfied with an eligibility determination or benefit award or who is otherwise adversely affected by any action of the Trustees. The arbitration procedure, however, is not required with respect to participant claims for disability benefits under the Plan.