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[IWS] Supreme Ct.: OLD UNION CONTRACTS IMPLYING "LIFETIME HEALTH BENEFITS" NOT VALID CONTRACTUALLY [26 January 2015]
IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies-----------------Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor--------------------Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau
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SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
M&G POLYMERS USA, LLC, ET AL. v. TACKETT ET AL [26 January 2015]
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
Los Angeles Times
Press Release 26 January 2015
Supreme Court knocks down promised health benefits for union retirees
The Supreme Court cast doubt Monday on the future of old union contracts that had promised lifetime health benefits for retired workers and their families.
In a case seen as a victory for corporate America, the justices ruled these promises should not be treated as “vested rights” unless they are spelled out in the contract.
“When a contract is silent as to the duration of retiree benefits, a court may not infer that the parties intended those benefits to vest for life,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas.
In the unanimous opinion, Thomas chided lower-court judges who upheld the retiree benefits, citing "traditional principle that courts should not construe ambiguous writings to create lifetime promises."
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