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Supreme Court of the United States
Argued November 10, 1987 ; February 23, 1988
[*541] [***942] [**832] JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.
A company that is a party to a collective-bargaining agreement may have [****6] a contractual duty to make contributions to a pension fund during the term of the agreement and, in addition, may have a duty under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to continue making such contributions after the expiration of the contract and while negotiations for a new contract are in process. In 1980, Congress amended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to provide trustees of multiemployer benefit plans with an effective federal remedy to collect delinquent contributions. The question presented in this case is whether that remedy encompasses actions based on an alleged breach of the employer's statutory duty as well as those based on an alleged breach of contract. We agree with the Court of Appeals' conclusion that the remedy is limited to the collection of "promised contributions."
Prior to 1983, respondent was a member of the Associated General Contractors of California and a party to two multiemployer collective-bargaining agreements negotiated on its [*542] behalf by that association. 2 The agreements included provisions requiring respondent to make monthly contributions to eight different employee benefit plans. 3 [***943] The collective-bargaining [****7] agreements, which were executed in 1980, had an expiration date of June 15, 1983.
On April 1, 1983, respondent notified both unions that it had terminated the association's authority to bargain on its behalf, that it would not [****8] be bound by either master agreement (or any successor agreement) after the June 15, 1983, expiration date, and that it was prepared to negotiate with the unions independently. Respondent continued to contribute to the eight trust funds until June 15, 1983, but has made no contributions since that date.
In December 1983, the trustees of the eight plans (petitioners) 4 brought suit in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California against respondent to collect contributions for the period after June 15, 1983. Petitioners allege that respondent's unilateral decision to change the terms and conditions of employment by discontinuing its contributions constituted a breach of its duty to bargain in good faith and violated § 8(a)(5) of the NLRA. 61 Stat. 141, 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(5). [*543] The complaints alleged that the federal court had jurisdiction under §§ 502(g)(2) and 515 of ERISA. 5
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
484 U.S. 539 *; 108 S. Ct. 830 **; 98 L. Ed. 2d 936 ***; 1988 U.S. LEXIS 937 ****; 56 U.S.L.W. 4156; 108 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P10,299; 127 L.R.R.M. 2657; 9 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 1457
LABORERS HEALTH AND WELFARE TRUST FUND FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ET AL. v. ADVANCED LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE CO., INC.
Prior History: CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
contributions, obligations, postcontract, delinquent, expiration, district court, negotiations, contractual, bargain, make a contribution, new contract, impasse
Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Unfair Labor Practices, General Overview, Business & Corporate Compliance, Pensions & Benefits Law, Multiemployer Plans, Collection of Liability, Pensions & Benefits Law, Civil Litigation, Causes of Action, Delinquent Contributions, Civil Procedure, Remedies, Judgment Interest, Prejudgment Interest, Estate, Gift & Trust Law, Trusts, ERISA, Interest Awards, Damages, Costs & Attorney Fees, Court Costs, Mandatory Fees, Liquidated Damages, Claim Procedures