Shelter Distrib., Inc. v. Gen. Drivers, Warehousemen & Helpers Union Local No. 89, No. 11-5450 (6th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
The collective bargaining agreement was scheduled to expire. During negotiations, the union disclaimed representation of the company's employees and terminated the collective bargaining process. The company then withdrew from the multiemployer pension plan. The pension fund imposed withdrawal liability and assessed $57,291.50, 29 U.S.C. 1399. The company demanded indemnification from the union pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement, which stated: "The Union shall indemnify the Company for any contingent liability which may be imposed under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980." The district court concluded that an arbitration provision was enforceable. The arbitrator ordered the union to pay. The district court upheld the award. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that it would violate public policy for a union to indemnify an employer for any contingent liability to a pension plan established under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. 1381-1461.