Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

GLASS, MOLDERS INTERN. UNION v. OWENS-ILL.

February 4, 1991

GLASS, MOLDERS, POTTERY, PLASTICS AND ALLIED WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, AFL-CIO AND LOCAL UNION NO. 4, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
OWENS-ILLINOIS, INC., DEFENDANT. OWENS-ILLINOIS, INC., PLAINTIFF, V. GLASS, MOLDERS, POTTERY, PLASTICS AND ALLIED WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, AFL-CIO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gerry, Chief Judge:

OPINION

Presently before the Court is a motion for summary judgment by plaintiffs, Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union, AFL-CIO and its Local Union Number 4 (collectively "the Union") to enforce an arbitration award and for prejudgment interest, costs and reasonable attorneys fees, and a cross-motion for summary judgment by defendant, Owens-Illinois, Inc. ("Owens") to vacate the arbitration award. For the reasons set forth below, the Union's motion will be granted and Owens' cross-motion will be denied.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A. Introduction

For over 25 years, Owens and the Union have been parties to a succession of collective bargaining agreements covering the terms and conditions of employment for employees of Owens' metal closure plant in Glassboro, New Jersey. The latest collective bargaining agreement which was in effect at all times material to this action became effective April 1, 1986, and was to expire March 31, 1989. On or about January 5, 1989, however, Owens sold the Glassboro plant pursuant to an Asset Purchase Agreement ("the Agreement") entered into on November 14, 1988 between Owens and Anchor Hocking Corporation ("Anchor"). Anchor acquired the plant for approximately $36 million. As a condition of the sale, Section 13(b) of the Agreement expressly provided that Owens would absolve Anchor from assuming any obligation under any collective bargaining agreement.*fn1 The Agreement also provided that Anchor would have no obligation to hire any of Owens' Glassboro employees, but that Owens would nonetheless encourage its employees to work for Anchor. Additionally, Owens agreed not to solicit or offer employment to any employee for 180 days following the closing. Agreement, § 13(a).

Anchor offered employment to all affected employees upon the sale of the plant. On January 5, 1989, there was a 100% turnout by the former Owens employees, and all were eventually hired by Anchor. Accordingly, there was no loss of work as a result of the sale. Anchor announced its intention to negotiate a new agreement with the Union as soon as possible and eventually entered into a new 3-year collective bargaining agreement commencing April 1, 1989. Prior to the new agreement, Anchor continued the current wage rate, however, knowing it was not bound by the Owens-Union collective bargaining agreement, instituted a number of changes in the terms of employment.*fn2 These changes included the elimination of severance pay, personal days off, a decrease in employer contributions to retiree benefits, and an increase in employee contributions to insurance plans. Specifically, the summary of changes included the following:

  Side Agreement, Letters and Practices — Are not
  binding on the Company.
  Layoff Notice — All requirements of advance notice
  for layoff, including but not limited to those set
  forth in Article 3 of Owens-Illinois' Union Shop
  Contract, are eliminated.
  Subcontracting — All restrictions against the
  Company's management right to subcontract,
  including but not limited to any restrictions set
  forth in Article 30 of Owens-Illinois' Union Shop
  Contract, are eliminated.
  Article 28 of Owens-Illinois' Union Shop Contract
  — All transfer, notice and other rights set forth
  in this Article are eliminated.
  Special Call Assignments — Any and all
  restrictions against the work that may be performed
  by employees summoned to work under a special call,
  including but not limited to all restrictions set
  forth in Article 5, Section 4(c) of Owens-Illinois'
  Local Union-Management Agreement, are eliminated.
  Filling of Vacancies — Any and all restrictions
  against the Company's management rights to fill
  vacancies, whether scheduled or unscheduled,
  including but not limited to those set forth in
  Section 1(g) of the Owens-Illinois' Local
  Union-Management Agreement, are eliminated.
  Arbitration — Upon lawful recognition of the
  union, the Company will propose an interim written
  agreement permitting the union to submit certain
  disputes to arbitration as a matter of right and
  reserving to the Company discretion to accept or
  decline requests to submit other disputes to
  arbitration. . . .
  Successors, Transferees and Assigns — All
  restrictions against the Company's management right
  to sell or transfer the plant, including but not
  limited to those set forth in Article 33 of
  Owens-Illinois' Union Shop Contract, are
  eliminated.
  Cost of Living Allowances — Including but not
  limited to all terms and conditions set forth in
  Article 38 of Owens-Illinois' Shop Contract, are
  eliminated.

Personal Days Off — Are eliminated.

  Vacation Pay — Accrued vacation pay will not be
  payable to employees discharged for cause.
  Insurance — Employees will be required to
  contribute 15% of the total cost of the insurance
  plan selected by each employee. Further, all rights
  to Company paid insurance benefits following plant
  closure, including but not limited to all rights
  set forth in Article 21, Section 8(h) of
  Owens-Illinois' Union Shop Contract, are
  eliminated. . . .
  Retiree Benefits — As set forth in Article 20 of
  Owens-Illinois' Union Shop Contract, will be
  continued. However, the Company will not contribute
  more than the currently required $.18 per employee
  hour actually worked.
  Severance Pay — All rights to severance pay,
  including but not limited to all rights set forth
  in Article 31 of Owens-Illinois' Union Shop
  Contract, are eliminated.

There is some dispute as to when the Union became aware of the sale of the plant as well as the terms and conditions of the Agreement. The Union maintains that, although certain representatives of the Union heard about the Agreement in November of 1988, they were only informed that the sale was not final and was dependent upon governmental approval. They were not provided with a copy of the Agreement until four months after the closing. The Union further maintains that they were not consulted regarding the terms of the Agreement during the negotiation process. Owens alleges that the Union knew about the sale to Anchor approximately six weeks before the closing, and that Frank Cibo, the Union International Representative assigned to Glassboro, learned by telephone on January 3rd that the sale would be finalized on January 5th and that Anchor would not assume the collective bargaining agreement. Owens maintains, and the Union does not dispute, that the Union never undertook to urge Anchor to assume the collective bargaining agreement prior to the sale.

On January 6, 1989, the Union filed a grievance with Owens as a result of the alleged losses incurred by the employees upon the sale of the Glassboro facility to Anchor. The grievance was denied and, in May of 1989, Owens and the Union agreed to submit the matter to arbitration where both parties would frame the issues for the arbitrator. See Plaintiff's Exhibits 10 & 11 in Support of Their Motion to Enforce the Arbitration Award.

Several provisions of the Owens-Union collective bargaining agreement form the basis of the dispute. The most pertinent provisions include the following:

ARTICLE 1

Duration

  Section 1. This contract shall become effective
  April 1, 1986, and shall continue in effect
  through March 31, 1989, and as long thereafter as
  regular negotiations for the making of a new
  Contract are in progress.
  Section 3. No changes may be made in this Contract
  unless mutually approved by the Company, the
  International Officers of the Glass, Pottery,
  Plastics & Allied Workers ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.