Here’s an upside to having a comprehensive collective-bargaining agreement: Employees who claim they were denied benefits they had been promised can’t sue under Ohio state contract law if the subject of the lawsuit is covered by the union contract.
That means claims have to be brought within six months under the federal Labor Relations Act (LMRA).
Recent case: A group of former Ford employees claimed the company promised them a lump sum payment of $35,000 if they retired early. They did, but sued several years later because they never got the additional money. They claimed that, under Ohio contract law, the promises had to be enforced.
The court disagreed and said the union contract applied—and that the LMRA required them to sue earlier. (Ray, et al., v. Ford, No. 1:09-CV-714, ND OH, 2009)
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