Justice Clarence Thomas and a unanimous US Supreme Court decided to vacate a Sixth Circuit decision and hold that the federal courts cannot assume from silence in a union’s collective bargain agreement that retiree group health insurance benefits continue indefinitely.  The Supreme Court found that collective bargain agreements should be treated the same as other contracts when the principles are consistent with federal labor policy.

The Court rejected the UAW-Yard Man decision and accompanying long standing principle called the Yard-Man Rule which provided that in the absence of clear contractual language a collective bargain agreement vested retirees with lifetime benefits. The Supreme Court’s M&G Polymers v. Tackett USA decision is attached here.