Union Right to Arbitration: Early Retirement Benefits

The Seventh Circuit decided in December 2010 that the UAW had the right to have an neutral labor arbitrator decide whether an employer violated the union contract by refusing to allow long service laid off employees to opt to receive a "Thirty and Out" retirement benefit once they reached the age required for eligibility. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected the employer's claim that the dispute was covered by the pension plan and that the only remedy for employees was an appeal to the pension administrator. The union contract had language which covered eligibility for a "Thirty and Out" retirement and the contract's arbitration clause allowed the union to grieve and arbitrate "any violation of this agreement." Our attorneys were successful in persuading the court that the union and its members were entitled to have the issue of eligibility for the early retirement benefit decided by a neutral arbitrator not by the pension administrator.

For the opinion click here.