Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Ruling against Ohio firm upheld

Court: Workers owed more money

The Associated Press

The federal appeals court in Cincinnati on Tuesday upheld an arbitrator's ruling that Sterling China Co. owes additional pay to union workers making a specialty line of glazed products since 1994.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that employees at the company's Wellsville plant in eastern Ohio were entitled to an additional $3 an hour for time spent on the products. The ruling, in a dispute over pay classifications, means that the company had to pay thousands of dollars in additional wages.

The Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers Local 24, said in a grievance that the company owed the money to about 25 employees.

The company responded that the affected employees were due an additional 26 cents an hour for work within the regular week and 39 cents an hour for overtime. Management offered to pay $5,860.63.

The union asked the arbitrator to resolve the dispute and clarify his ruling. The arbitrator in April 2001 sided with the union's interpretation.

The company appealed, saying the arbitrator already had decided the dispute in an earlier ruling in 1998 and had no further authority.

The appeals court disagreed, ruling that the arbitrator has authority to clarify his ruling if both sides are unable to agree on how to interpret it.

The ruling by appeals judges Eric Clay, Deborah Cook and David Nelson affirmed one in 2002 by U.S. District Judge Peter Economus of Youngstown that upheld the arbitrator's decision.

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