United Steelworkers awarded over $5 million in back benefits after arbitrator decides that Philadelphia Energy Solutions (“PES”) suspended medical and pension benefits in violation of the parties’ union contract
In an unprecedented win for local unions, Philadelphia arbitrator Thomas McConnell ordered Philadelphia Energy Solutions (“PES”), a subsidiary of the Carlisle Group, to repay more than $5 million in benefits to members of the United Steelworkers employed at the company’s South Philadelphia oil refinery.
In January 2017, PES unilaterally suspended pension benefits of the more than 650 union members and reduced its contributions to the employees’ health insurance premiums. The company’s actions left the workers with no future retirement benefits and heftier insurance costs.
On June 22, after a lengthy arbitration, Arbitrator McConnell issued a 41-page decision ordering repayment of all monies. He ordered PES to reimburse the union members for all the losses they sustained from the company’s unilateral changes to the medical and pension plans.
Galfand Berger attorneys, Debra Jensen and Michael McGurrin, and Farhan Ali won this important victory for the USW workers at the PES refinery. Ms. Jensen, Managing Partner at Galfand Berger, noted, “PES attempted to shirk its duty to the employees who keep its South Philadelphia refinery operating. This decision makes the workers whole and tells the company it cannot backtrack on an agreement reached in good faith by both parties. This is a victory for labor.”