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H. K. Porter Co. v. United Saw

June 19, 1964

H. K. PORTER COMPANY, INC., APPELLANT
v.
UNITED SAW, FILE AND STEEL PRODUCTS WORKERS OF AMERICA, FEDERAL LABOR UNION NO. 22254, AFL-CIO, APPELLEE.



Author: Forman

Before BIGGS, Chief Judge, FORMAN and GANEY, Circuit Judges.

FORMAN, C. J.:

H. K. Porter Company (hereafter the Company) acquired in November of 1955 substantially all the assets of Henry Disston & Sons, Inc. (hereafter Disston), who for many years maintained a steel production plant in the Tacony section of Philadelphia. The Company continued to operate this plant there calling it the Henry Disston Division of the H. K. Porter Company until February of 1959. It then announced that it intended to move a large part of its production facilities from Philadelphia to Danville, Virginia.

Thereafter, United Saw, File and Steel Products Workers of America, Federal Labor Union No. 22254, AFL-CIO (hereafter the Union) and the Company, discussed, among other things, severance pay and pension rights of the employees. They, however, failed to agree thereon.

The Union brought an action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania*fn1 to compel the Company to proceed to arbitration under its collective bargaining agreement of September 15, 1957 as extended on September 15, 1958. The District Court held that the disputes concerning severance pay and pension rights of the employees were arbitrable.*fn2

After hearing the dispute, the Arbitrator,*fn3 on August 17, 1962, among other things, ruled:

"1. Each employee who, at the time he was terminated, had completed twenty-five years of service or more, but had not reached age sixty-five shall be paid full pension.

"The formula for payment to be worked out by H. K. Porter Company and the Union.

"Each terminated employee shall receive a $1,000 non-contributory life insurance policy as provided for in Section XIX-A.

"2. Each employee who, at the time he was terminated had reached age sixty-five, but had not completed twenty-five years of service shall be paid a pro rata pension based on an equitable formula to be worked out by H. K. Porter Company and the Union.

"Each terminated employee shall receive a $1,000 non-contributory life insurance policy as provided for in Section XIX-A.

"3. The request for pensions for employees who, at their termination, had not reached age sixty-five and who had not put in twenty-five years of service is denied."

The Company filed an action in the District Court attacking the award. The litigation was brought to a head by motions for summary judgment filed by both the Company and the Union. For its part the Company sought to have the award vacated on the grounds that the Arbitrator had "exceeded his authority and the scope of the submission" and that he had "added to, amended and completely disregarded the explicit and unambiguous provisions of the Agreement." The Union, on the other hand, sought, among other things, an order that the Company perform the obligations set forth in the award of the Arbitrator.

The District Court denied the motion of the Company and granted the motion of the Union, ordering enforcement of the arbitration award,*fn4 from which the Company has appealed on the same grounds it asserted in attacking the award.*fn5

In their collective bargaining agreements of September 1, 1950, February 4, 1952 and July 15, 1953, Disston and the Union treated the subject of pensions in part as follows:

"C. ELIGIBILITY. Basic yearly pension allowance (without Social Security) which shall be paid a retired employee who has reached the age of sixty-five with at least twenty-five years of continuous service with the Company, . . ."

Provision was also made for retirement at age sixty with at least thirty years of continuous service.

After the acquisition of the Disston plant by the Company, it entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Union, dated September 19, 1956, as of September 1, 1956, containing, among other things, the following provisions:

"I. A joint Union-Management Committee will be established to write a finalized Agreement to be entered into between the Union and the Henry Disston Division of H. K. Porter Company, Inc. of Pittsburgh, and shall use for such purpose the Agreement between the Union and Henry Disston & Sons, Inc. Included in the rewrite shall be the following:"

"(G) Pensions :

The Company will continue the pension plan negotiated between the Union and Henry Disston and Sons, Inc. except for the following changes:

"(1) Elimination of the provision of eligibility for pension at age 60 with 30 or more years of continuous service."

Approximately a year later, on September 16, 1957, the Company entered into a collective bargaining agreement with the Union containing the following provisions:

"Section XX - PENSIONS.

"The Company agrees to continue pensions payments as negotiated September 1, 1950, February 4, 1952 and July 15, 1953 with its predecessor Henry Disston & Sons, Inc. The Company will also provide for all employees covered by this Agreement the following Pension Plan:

"A. The administration of this Pension Plan shall be in the charge of the Management General Pension Board, Henry Disston Division, H. K. Porter Company (Delaware) Hourly Employees Pension Plan.

"B. UNION MANAGEMENT PENSION COMMITTEE. A pension committee consisting of three members from Management and three members from active Union membership shall review eligibility problems . . . Problems of eligibility within the terms of this pension plan that cannot be solved by this Pension Committee shall be the only pension problems subject to arbitration, . . .

"C. ELIGIBILITY. Basic yearly pension allowance (without Social Security) which shall be paid a retired employee who has reached the age of sixty-five with at least twenty-five years of continuous ...


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