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Edward Tomalski, Glenn Armstrong, Stephen Matotek, Robert v. Armstrong World Industries

December 6, 2012

EDWARD TOMALSKI, GLENN ARMSTRONG, STEPHEN MATOTEK, ROBERT HARRIS AND CLIFFORD W. HUNT PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ARMSTRONG WORLD INDUSTRIES, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Terrence F. McVerry United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF COURT

Now pending before the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment: DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Document No. 35) and PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Document No. 39). The motions have been thoroughly briefed (Document Nos. 36, 40, 44, 47-49); the parties have fully developed their respective positions as to their Concise Statements of Material Facts ("CSMFs"); and the motions are ripe for disposition.

Factual and Procedural Background

Defendant Armstrong World Industries, Inc. ("Armstrong") owned and operated a manufacturing facility in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania (the "Beaver Falls Plant"). The five Plaintiffs are former employees of Defendant at the Beaver Falls Plant. Pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA"), the United Steelworkers AFL-CIO, CLC and Local Union No. 256L (the "Union") was the exclusive bargaining agency for Plaintiffs.

Pursuant to the CBA, Armstrong was required to provide six months notice prior to a plant closure and to negotiate with the Union concerning the manner in which the closure would be carried out. On July 9, 2010, Armstrong notified the Union of its intent to close the Beaver Falls Plant. Armstrong and the Union held several meetings beginning in August or September 2010. The meetings culminated in the execution of a Plant Closure Agreement and an accompanying Severance Agreement and General Release on October 29, 2010. Armstrong began to shut down operations in January 2011. Production ended in May 2011, although some employees were kept on afterwards to dismantle and clean up the plant.

Both parties contend that this case should be resolved pursuant to the plain language of the Plant Closure Agreement. The Agreement provides, in relevant part:

ARTICLE III: ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Section 1. In order to receive special severance benefits to which an employee is not otherwise entitled, an employee must meet each of the eligibility requirements described in Section 2 of this Article. If an employee does not meet each of these eligibility requirements, he/she shall not receive severance benefits described in this Agreement.

Section 2. Eligibility Requirements

A. The employee must be in an active employment status as of July 9, 2010, unless otherwise agreed

B. Employees who continue in employment until the date of permanent closure of their department or the Beaver Falls Plant, or until such other date as released by the Company

D. The employee must execute a full and final Waiver and Release of Claims in the form provided by the Company on the last date of employment and not later revoke the same. . . .

ARTICLE VIII: SEVERANCE BENEFITS

Section 1. Each eligible employee terminated as a result of the Beaver Falls plant closing, will receive severance benefits. The severance benefit will be eight hundred dollas ($800.00) for each full year of service (partial years will not be counted) according to the provisions of this Section provided, however, that the employee must meet all eligibility requirements set forth in Article III of this Agreement, including but not limited to the execution of a Release and Waiver which is not later revoked. Attached as Exhibit A is the complete list of possible eligible employees which was derived from Company records with respect to seniority list as of the week of October 25, 2010. ARTICLE XI: COMPLETE AGREEMENT

Section 1. The Company and the Union have met, fully bargained, and agreed with respect to all business issues, decisions, and effects, whether known or unknown, involved with or related to the Company's permanent closure of the Beaver Falls ...


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