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Silgan Containers Corp. v. Sheet Metal Workers Int'l Ass'n

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

April 15, 2016

Silgan Containers Corporation, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local Union No. 2, Defendant - Appellant

         Submitted January 13, 2016

Page 367

          Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri - Kansas City.

         For Silgan Containers Corporation, Plaintiff - Appellee: Raymond M. Deeny, SHERMAN & HOWARD, Colorado Springs, CO; Matthew M. Morrison, SHERMAN & HOWARD, Denver, CO.

         For Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local Union No. 2, Defendant - Appellant: Donald Aubry, STEVE A.J. BUKATY, CHARTERED, Kansas City, MO.

         Before MURPHY, SMITH, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

Page 368

          BENTON, Circuit Judge.

         Silgan Metal Containers Manufacturing Corporation sued Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 2, challenging an arbitration award. The district court granted summary judgment to Silgan. The Union appealed. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms in part, reverses in part, and remands.

         I.

         In 2012, Silgan and the Union began negotiating changes to the collective-bargaining agreement. Article 36 of the agreement outlines a pension-contribution program. In the previous agreement, Article 36 required Silgan to pay $1.98 to an employee's pension account for each hour worked, up to 2,000 hours. During negotiations, Silgan and the Union discussed converting the pension program into a company-wide 401(k) and increasing Silgan's contribution to $2.00 per hour. They did not discuss the 2000-hour cap.

         On May 2, 2012, the Union proposed significant revisions to Article 36, omitting the 2000-hour cap. Later that day, Silgan returned the proposal, with some changes, but still without the cap. After receiving Silgan's draft, the Union negotiator asked Silgan's negotiator to explain how Article 36 would work. Silgan's negotiator said, it would " work like it had always worked in the past." The Union's negotiators then decided " to not mention" the removal of the 2000-hour cap. On May 23, Silgan sent its final and best offer, without the 2000-hour cap. The Union sent this version to its members for ratification, after which Silgan and the Union proofread the draft. On June 13, Silgan's negotiator requested several edits, again without mentioning the cap. In the final agreement, Silgan contributes $2.00 per hour worked.

         The Union pursued a grievance to arbitration, seeking to enforce Article 36 as written--without a 2000-hour cap. Silgan argued that it did not agree to contribute for hours worked above 2,000 per year, alleging theories of fraud-in-the-inducement, unilateral mistake, and mutual mistake. It also challenged the arbitrator's authority to hear the dispute. Siding with the Union, the arbitrator directed Silgan to make pension contributions for each hour worked. Silgan sued to vacate the award and for a ...


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