From Crain’s Cleveland Business July 14, 2014
Clifton Steel Co., workers’ union settle contract dispute concerning ‘successorship clause’
By RACHEL ABBEY MCCAFFERTY
Originally Published: July 14, 2014
It looks like the leadership at Clifton Steel Co. in Maple Heights got its way when it came to simplifying the “successorship clause” in its contract with Teamsters Local 507.
The clause in question originally required future buyers to agree to take on the union’s benefits, including its health, welfare and pension plans. The new clause would require Clifton Steel’s leadership to notify any buyers of the union and the existing contract, leaving actual negotiations to the new employer. It wouldn’t excuse them from large withdrawal liabilities if a future employer decided to leave the plans.
Seth Briskin, chair of the labor and employment group at Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis in Cleveland, in May said the new approach was more typical and that the more detailed clause would have made the company less attractive to potential sellers in the future. Briskin served as Clifton’s legal counsel.
The union went on strike in April, ultimately agreeing to end the strike and sign the company’s offer in mid-June. Briskin said the company signed the contract on July 8, and that the two parties had been working on a settlement agreement during the interim period.
The union had about 30 employees on strike in May. Briskin said 14 to 15 of them were back to work as of July 3. The rest were on a layoff list. The company had replaced the striking workers with permanent employees, Briskin said.