Labor Arbitration Awards Union Members Over $3M in Severance Benefits

In the fall of 1999 Smurfit Newsprint sold its paper mill in Newberg, Oregon to Southeast Paper. The new employer retained virtually all of the union employees and assumed the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement. Most union employees lost no work as a result of the transfer of ownership. Nonetheless a grievance was filed against Smurfit Newsprint arguing that union employees were entitled to their severance payment under the collective bargaining agreement. Greg Hartman handled the arbitration in which the arbitrator agreed and awarded union members in excess of $3 million of severance benefits. With the help of Michael Morris, that arbitration award was successfully defended in both federal district court as well as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.