In GCIU Employer Retirement Fund v. Quad/Graphics, Inc., No. 17-55667 (9th Cir. 2018) (Unpublished Memorandum), the issue for decision was whether Quad/Graphics, Inc. (“Quad”) partially withdrew from the GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund (“the Fund”) in 2010, after employees at Quad’s Versailles, Kentucky, facility voted to decertify a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). An arbitrator found that Quad had not withdrawn, but on review, the district court disagreed. Quad appeals.
In reviewing this case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Court”) said that, like the district court, we must presume the arbitrator’s factual findings are correct but review his conclusions of law de novo. As such, the Court affirmed the district court’s decision that Quad had partially withdraww from the Fund.
In explaining its decision, the Court noted that an employer partially withdraws from a multiemployer pension plan, such as the Fund, when it permanently ceases to have an obligation to contribute under one or more but fewer than all collective bargaining agreements under which the employer has been obligated to contribute. The district court correctly held that Quad partially withdrew from the Fund in 2010. The Versailles CBA-one of the CBAs that Quad had with the Union- became void prospectively as of the decertification of the union as the employee’s bargaining representative in December 2010, extinguishing Quad’s ongoing obligations to contribute to the Fund on behalf of Versailles employees under the Versailles CBA.