WEBSTER, Circuit Judge.
This case presents for our review the denial of pension benefits to Ellis G. Maness by the trustees of the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas
In resolving this issue, we note initially that judicial review in cases such as this is limited. It is well established that a reviewing court will intervene in the administration of a pension plan only where the trustees have acted arbitrarily, capriciously or in bad faith. Hayes v. Morse, 347 F.Supp. 1081, 1086 (E.D.Mo.1972), aff'd, 474 F.2d 1265 (8th Cir. 1973); Ruth v. Lewis, 166 F.Supp. 346, 349 (D.D.C.1958); see Brune v. Morse, 475 F.2d 858 (8th Cir. 1973).
We summarize the relevant stipulated facts. Maness was born March 1, 1906. From 1943 until 1946 or 1947 he worked in the shipping department of an A. S. Aloe Company plant in St. Louis. He was classified as an employee, not a supervisor. His duties included both paperwork and manual labor. Although a labor contract covered the employees working at that location, Maness was not subject to that agreement. In approximately 1947, Maness moved to a different Aloe facility where the character of his work remained unchanged but he was given a helper. Employees at this second facility were covered by a collective bargaining agreement between Teamsters Local 688 and the employer; Maness, however, was not covered by this agreement and neither received benefits thereunder nor joined the union. As a result, Maness was required to purchase work permits from the union which allowed him to perform manual labor covered by the collective bargaining agreement.
In 1948 or 1949, the company terminated Maness' hourly wages and began paying him a monthly salary. His manual labor duties ceased,
Judge Meredith's findings of fact detail the subsequent history of the controversy: On October 30, 1963, in an effort to resolve a dispute that had arisen concerning Maness' work, the union (Local 688 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America) and the employer entered into a settlement, whereby the company agreed to include the job performed by Maness in the bargaining unit. The settlement further provided that Maness could continue performing such work if he joined the union within 30 days, and that "[i]f Mr. Maness so decides, then he shall be credited with full seniority rights since employed by the Company and shall enjoy all rights and benefits in accordance with his seniority." Maness did join the union within the allotted 30 days.
From December of 1963 to 1969, Maness continued to work at the same Aloe facility. The character of his work was essentially the same as it had been since approximately 1949. During this period (1963-1969), the company paid pension contributions on behalf of Maness to the Pension Fund in question for a total of 261 weeks.
Under Article III, Section 1 of the Plan, "[a]n employee who has reached the NORMAL RETIREMENT DATE shall be eligible for the retirement benefit provided by this Pension Plan." Article I, Section 15 of the Plan provides in part:
There is no question under the stipulated facts that, at the time Maness filed his application for pension benefits, he was 62 years old, he had completed over five years of continuous service under a collective bargaining agreement
Article I, Section 14 of the Plan defines "continuous service in the industry as an employee" in relevant part as
In light of these provisions of the Pension Plan, the parties have focused their controversy upon the settlement agreement of October 30, 1963, between the employer and the union. Maness argues, as he did below, that this agreement to credit him "with full seniority rights since employed by the Company" operated to give him retroactive membership in the bargaining unit and that as a result thereof he had attained the required 20 years of service in the Teamster industry. The trustees disagree. It has been their position that Maness' employment between approximately 1949 and 1963 involved supervisory duties and hence he was not in covered employee status during this period.
It is true, as appellant-trustees have asserted, that the eligibility determination is lodged with the trustees and that a union and an employer cannot between themselves create eligibility. It is also true, however, under the facts stipulated by both parties, that Maness did become a member of the bargaining unit at the time of the 1963 agreement. Clearly, he was working "in the industry" at least from that time forward. Since Maness' duties from 1963 to 1969 were approximately the same as the duties he had performed from 1949 to 1963, we must conclude, as did the District Court, that Maness did not perform supervisory work
Accordingly, we uphold Judge Meredith's determination that the trustees acted arbitrarily and capriciously and we affirm his order that the benefits, plus interest, be paid.
It is undisputed that Maness' work following the 1963 agreement between the employer and the union was covered by the collective bargaining agreement.