ceases working. As we have seen, each of the three plaintiffs had selected an effective retirement date prior to the Special Plan, had ceased working on that date, and had accepted and cashed the first payment of pension benefits. Putting aside all the semantics of plaintiffs' argument and the formalisms of the Company's administrative process, the answer to the central issue in this case is eminently simple: plaintiffs retired when they stopped working.
Plaintiffs also argue that Company policy required the tacking on of accrued vacation time and sick days to an employee's last date of work to determine that employee's actual date of termination or retirement. Applying this policy to plaintiffs, each would have been on the payroll during the period when the Special Plan was offered and therefore would have been eligible to select it.
In support of their contention that tacking is a Company policy, plaintiffs submit evidence concerning the January 9, 1981 discharge of Harriet King. In a letter from the Company Ms. King was informed that because of vacation days and severance her effective date of termination would be January 31, 1981, several weeks after her actual discharge.
From this one incident plaintiffs try to extrapolate a company-wide policy. Ignoring for the moment the fact that the incident occurred over a year and a half earlier and involved a discharge rather than a pension, we simply cannot divine a company policy from one isolated occurrence. Plaintiffs' evidence fails to establish a company policy for tacking.
Plaintiffs also cite two cases which they contend establish that vacation and sick days are to be considered as "work time." Elswick v. The New River Co., BRB No. 80-179 BLA, at p. 1-1113; Foster v. Dravo Corp., 490 F.2d 55 (3d Cir. 1973). Neither case involves pensions or tacking. The first is a black lung benefits case and the latter involves the claim for vacation pay under a collective bargaining agreement and the Selective Service Act of 1967 of an employee drafted into the military. These cases provide neither solace nor support for plaintiffs.
These plaintiffs all retired within weeks prior to the unveiling of a more lucrative Special Early Retirement Plan. Each plaintiff had ceased working, had accepted and cashed his first pension check and for all intents and purposes, both from their viewpoint and the Company's, had entered upon their retirement. Their retirement applications were not offers to contract for benefits, but rather the administrative form which embodied their election of rights under the existing pension plan.
Though it seems harsh and unfeeling to deny a loyal employee the opportunity to enrich his retirement plan solely because he missed the boat by two weeks, the company also has a considerable interest in establishing with some certainty a cutoff date for eligibility. To extend the program retroactively would also be fundamentally inconsistent with the purpose of the Special Plan, which was to effect a cost savings by inducing a reduction in force. Offering special retirement benefits to men who have already retired does not advance the Company's purpose.
Because plaintiffs' retirement applications were not "offers" in the contract law sense of the term, and because plaintiffs cannot produce evidence or authority to establish a Company policy of "tacking," summary judgment will be entered in favor of defendant and against plaintiffs.
AND NOW in accordance with the accompanying Opinion, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that summary judgment is ENTERED in favor of defendant and against plaintiffs. The Clerk is DIRECTED to mark the matter CLOSED.
SO ORDERED this 22nd day of December, 1986.
Gerald J. Weber, U.S. District Judge.