Judge rules in favor of union in pension case

By William Sassani | Feb 10, 2019

New Orleans -- Judge Jay C. Zainey of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has ruled a summary judgment in favor of New Orleans Employers International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO regarding a withdrawal liability for a pension plan. 

Judge Zainey filed his ruling on January 25, 2019 in U.S. District Court.

In his 11-page decision, Judge Zainey wrote that Maritime Security and Advance Marine Services, Inc. had failed to make their case for why they stopped making payments to the pension plan administered by the Longshoremen’s Association. The amount owed to the fund is $2,688.359.

Maritime Security and Marine Services had argued that Carnival Cruise Lines was the employer and still contributes to the fund. Thus, it should be responsible for the pension contributions for employees. 


Seal of the Eastern District of Louisiana   U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana

In 2003, employees working for Maritime Security and Advance Marine Services entered into an agreement to be represented in collective bargaining by the General Longshore Works Local Union No. 3000 and New Orleans Clerks and Checker’s Local Union No. 1497. The New Orleans Employers International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO Pension Fund would collect monies for the employees for their pension funds.

Maritime Security and Advance Marine Services were required by Carnival Cruise Lines that their employees be unionized in order for the companies to provide services. This included cleaning staff, longshoremen, and porters. 

However, Carnival terminated the contract between itself and these companies in December 2015. With no other sources of revenue, the companies did not have any means of contributing to the pension plans except for liquidating their assets. Thus, they stopped contributing to the fund.   

Carnival then entered into another agreement with United Stevedoring of America, which also made an agreement with the unions and pension plan. It also employed many of the former workers from the previous companies. 

They had also argued that United should be responsible for the pension contributions under the successorship doctrine. Also, that Carnival should be considered the employer in this case and is also responsible.

Judge Zainey did not agree, saying that Carnival was not the employer and that United did not meet the successorship doctrine as it was a separate company that had taken over a contract previously held by the defendants. He ruled in favor of the union, which was the plaintiff in this case. 

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