U.S. Arbitrator Upholds Lifetime Job Guarantee Agreements Negotiated 35 years ago

Koskie Glavin Gordon partner Anthony Glavin persuaded Palo Alto, California arbitrator, John Kagel, that Lifetime Job Guarantee agreements affecting Pressmen and a Mailer were applicable in the context of a contracting out of the employer’s presses.  Anthony was ably assisted by Carol Whittome on the file.

The Lifetime Job Guarantees were negotiated in 1979 between Unifor Local 2000’s predecessor and the Pacific Newspaper Group (then known as Pacific Press).  The Union was successful in arguing that the Lifetime Job Guarantees continued to apply even though the contracting out of the Company’s presses would completely eradicate the work jurisdiction of Pressmen and Mailers.

The arbitrator concluded that the agreements in question provided lifetime job protection for the named employees when the newspapers continue to publish but have no production facilities of their own.  He further found that, notwithstanding the estimated cost to the Company of guaranteeing these jobs for life would be in the range of $3-5 million, the guarantees represented a clear statement of a very important promise of entitlement for the named employees.  In addition, he found that extrinsic evidence underscored how the Company and the Union mutually viewed the intent of the agreements as conferring this benefit.

The result in this case represents an important victory for Unifor Local 2000 and its long-term Pressmen at a time when the printing facility is facing closure.

Unifor Local 2000 and Pacific Newspaper Group (Re: Job Guarantees) (29 November), unreported (Kagel)