United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
INTERNATIONAL UNION, UNITED AUTOMOBILE, AEROSPACE AND AGRICULTURAL, IMPLEMENT WORKERS OF AMERICA (UAW), MARTIN LAMAR, JOHN YASSO, KIM TASKILA, and RONALD GARDNER, Plaintiffs,
TRW AUTOMOTIVE U.S., LLC, Defendant.
ORDER: (1) DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFFS'
MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES [#33]; (2) GRANTING PLAINTIFFS'
RENEWED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [#39]; (3) DENYING
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE RENEWED MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT [#44]; AND (4) GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO
MAKE WHOLE [#56]
PAGE HOOD, CHIEF JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter involves retiree benefits that arise under a
collective bargaining agreement. Now before the Court are
A. Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorney Fees;
B. Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment;
C. Defendant's Motion to Strike Renewed Motion for
Summary Judgment (“Motion to Strike”); and
D. Plaintiffs' Motion to Enforce Arbitration Award with
“Make Whole” Amounts to Individual Retirees
(“Motion to Make Whole”).
reasons stated below, the Court: (1) denies without prejudice
Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorney Fees; (2) grants
Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment; (3)
denies Defendant's Motion to Strike; and (4) grants
Plaintiffs' Motion to Make Whole.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
October 21, 2011, Plaintiffs International Union, United
Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of
America (“UAW”), Martin Lamer, John Yasso, Kim
Taskila, and Ronald Gardner filed the present action on
behalf of the individual plaintiffs and those
similarly-situated against Defendant TRW Automotive U.S. LLC
(“TRW”) “to enforce rights to lifetime
retirement healthcare benefits and coverage, including
prescription drug, dental, vision, and hearing benefits,
under collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”)
and employee welfare plans.” [Dkt. No. 1,
Compl. at PgID 1] Martin Lamer began working for the
Sterling Heights TRW facility in 1976 and retired in 2006.
John Yasso began working for the Sterling Heights TRW
facility in 1972 and retired in 2002. Kim Taskila began
working at the Sterling Heights TRW facility in 1972 and
retired in 2002. Ronald Gardner began working for the
Sterling Heights TRW facility in 1960 and retired in 1997.
The proposed class consists of “all persons who retired
from TRW at its Sterling Heights plant, including the
retirees' dependents and surviving spouses, who are
eligible to receive retirement healthcare under the CBAs,
excluding any retirees, dependents, and surviving spouses who
have legally released their rights to such claims.”
[Dkt. No. 1, Compl. at ¶ 20]
2002, UAW and TRW negotiated the last of a series of CBAs.
Pursuant to the 2002 CBA, retirees were covered by healthcare
insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield and retirees paid a
portion of the costs (in the form of premiums, deductibles
and/or co-pays) associated with that healthcare coverage. On
August 17, 2005, TRW announced that it planned to close the
Sterling Heights facility. The parties agreed to extend the
final CBA, dated August 6, 2002, until an agreement regarding
the closing of the Sterling Heights facility, but an
agreement was not reached. In 2007, TRW began providing
Sterling Heights retirees with group health insurance through
Humana that imposed no deductibles or co-pays. On September
14, 2011, TRW notified Plaintiffs by letter that, effective
January 1, 2012, it would discontinue providing
Medicare-eligible retirees and surviving spouses the existing
healthcare insurance and instead provide Health Reimbursement
Accounts (“HRAs”) for retirees that would be
funded at TRW's discretion.
relevant CBA provides the following grievance procedure:
4.1 Exclusive Remedy. The Union and the
employees agree that the grievance and arbitration procedures
provided herein are adequate to provide a fair and final
determination of all grievances which may arise out of the
employment relationship during the term of this Agreement and
that such procedures shall be the exclusive remedy for the
enforcement by them of any claim against the Company. Nothing
contained herein, however, shall preclude an employee covered
by this Agreement from filing a charge of illegal
discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
4.1.1 Grievance Denied. A grievance is any
complaint, dispute or controversy in which an employee or the
Union claims that the Company has failed to carry out a
provision of the Agreement and which involves a question
concerning the interpretation or application of or compliance
with this Agreement, including any question relating to rates
of pay, hours of work and other conditions of employment of
4.1.2 Interpretations-Final and Binding. Any
interpretation of this Agreement agreed upon by the Company
and the shop committee shall be final and binding upon any
person involved or affected.
4.1.3 Union Sole and Exclusive
Representative. With respect to the processing,
disposition, and/or settlement of any grievance initiated
under the grievance procedure of this Agreement, and with
respect to any court or administrative action or procedure
alleging a claim arising out of the employment relationship,
the Union shall be the sole and exclusive representative of
the employee or employees covered by this Agreement. The
disposition or settlement by and between the Company and the
Union of any grievance or other matter shall constitute a
full and complete settlement thereof and of related matters
and shall be final and binding upon the Union and its
members, the employee or employees, the Company and all
persons involved or affected.
4.1.4 Appeal-Internal Union Remedy. There
shall be no appeal of an employee from any settlement of any
grievance or other matter nor from the decision or award of
an impartial arbitrator. The Union will discourage any
attempt of its members, and will not encourage or cooperate
with any of its members, in any appeal to any court or
administrative agency. Nothing in this Paragraph 4.1 shall be
construed to prevent an employee from pursuing his internal
Union remedies in accordance with the International
Constitution of the Union.
4.1.5 Claims-Union Representative. No.
employee or other person shall have any right under this
Agreement in any claim, proceeding, action or otherwise on
the basis, or by reason, of any claim that the Union or any
Union prosecution or settlement of any grievance or other
matter as to which the Union or any Union representative has
authority or discretion to act or not to act under the terms
of this Agreement.
January 25, 2012, Defendant TRW filed a Motion to Compel
Arbitration. [Dkt. No. 8] On January 30,
2012, Plaintiffs' filed their Motion for Summary Judgment
and Permanent Injunctive Relief. [Dkt. No.
9] On September 30, 2012, the Court entered an
Order: (a) granting Defendant's Motion to Compel
Arbitration; (b) denying without prejudice Plaintiffs'
Motion for Summary Judgment and Permanent Injunctive Relief;
and (c) dismissing the case without prejudice. [Dkt.
No. 26] In that Order, the Court stated that
“[a]ny party may file a motion to reopen the case after
the arbitration has concluded.” Judgment was entered in
favor of the Defendant against Plaintiffs. [Dkt. No.
October 2, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal.
[Dkt. No. 28] About the same time, the
parties submitted their dispute to arbitration. On April 18,
2013, Arbitrator Michael Long of the American Arbitration
Association Voluntary Labor Arbitration released the
arbitration decision for this case. In a 24-page decision,
Arbitrator Long identified each of the issues that Plaintiffs
presented. Specifically, he stated that Plaintiffs asked him
1. Declare that by terminating retirement health insurance,
and by substituting individual health retirement accounts for
the health insurance subject to TRW's self-declared
“right to amend or terminate” those accounts, TRW
breached the governing CBAs and the ERISA-regulated health
insurance plan, violated ERISA, and breached its fiduciary
2. Declare that TRW is liable, for those breaches and
3. Direct TRW to cease its CBA breaches and ERISA violations
and to rectify those breaches and violations (A) by restoring
the status quo ante, and (B) by making retirees, dependents,
surviving spouses, and UAW whole for all expenses, costs,
fees, and losses incurred as a result of the TRW's
breaches and violations, and
4. Direct TRW to take suitable action to ensure full and
prompt “make whole” relief, including gathering
the information necessary to quantify “make
whole” amounts from its records and from the records of
the retirement benefits administrators employed and directed
by TRW, and to fully and ...