Issue: (1) Whether, consistent with federal labor and employee benefits policy, collectively bargained retiree benefits should not be found “vested” for the life of the retiree when a collective bargaining agreement does not contain a “clear statement” that such benefits are vested and/or unalterable, nor any language that might reasonably be construed to provide such benefits, but does contain a provision limiting the insurance program providing benefits to the
duration of the labor contract, and does incorporate booklets reserving the right to change or discontinue benefits; and (2) whether the Sixth Circuit’s singular presumption of vesting retiree health care benefits based on the status of retirement has contravened federal labor and employee benefits policy by placing a “thumb on the scales” in favor of vesting, by impeding the development of a uniform federal labor law, and by adversely affecting the national uniform administration of benefit plans.
On Monday at 9:30 a.m. we expect orders from the October 17 Conference. We do not expect any decisions on the merits but will report promptly on any orders. The Court's next Conference is scheduled for October 31. The November sitting begins November 3.